Uiversity teachers who requested for a meeting with President Goodluck Jonathan, got a shocking reply: the government ordered Vice Chancellors to open the campuses.
Lecturers are to resume duties immediately or get sacked, if they fail to resume on Monday.
Supervising Minister of Education Nyesom Wike handed down the immediate resumption directive yesterday as he accused the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) of intransigence and sabotage.
He said the government had met all the conditions that ought to have made the teachers to immediately call off the strike, which started on July 1.
Wike said the continuation of the strike, despite several meetings, especially with President Goodluck Jonathan, is an attempt by ASUU to sabotage all efforts by government to address the issues.
He told reporters that the government had directed that all Vice Chancellors of Federal universities should immediately reopen their campuses for academic and allied activities as directed by their pro-chancellors.
The teachers’ strike is on the failure of the government to implement the Federal Govt/ASUU agreement signed in 2009.
Wike said the government had met all its commitments and obligations with respect to the agreement.
The government, Wike said, took the decision to reopen the universities following ASUU’s new conditions, which he described untenable.
He said: “Consequently on November 4th 2013, in a 13-hour meeting, President Goodluck Jonathan met with ASUU executive, the Labour Union leaders from the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) , where all the issues were resolved and firm commitments made to address the lingering issues.
“It is noteworthy that Mr. President’s gesture was more than sufficient to guarantee the commitment of government to address all issues as resolved at the meeting with Mr. President.
“At the end of the meeting with Mr. President, the ASUU Executive promised to meet with its NEC to present the resolutions reached and report back by Friday November 8, 2013. It is unfortunate that while travelling to attend the NEC meeting in Kano, we lost a key member and former president of the union, Prof. Festus Iyayi. Government sympathises with the family of the late Iyayi and ASUU.
“It is amazing, however, that three weeks after the meeting with Mr. President, ASUU responded by giving new conditions for suspending the five-month old strike. I have never seen anywhere in any country where you sit down with Mr President. That is the highest level of discussion. If you cannot believe Mr. President, then who else will you believe?
“Government has reviewed the entire situation and came to the conclusion that the continuation of the strike is an attempt by ASUU to sabotage all efforts to address the issues.
“As a responsible government, we cannot allow the continuous closure of our public universities for this length of time (five months), as this poses danger to the education system, the future of our youths and national development.
“Consequently, the Federal Government has directed as follows: All vice – chancellors of Federal universities that are currently on strike should immediately reopen for academic and allied activities as directed by their pro-chancellors.
“Vice-Chancellors should ensure that staff who resume for work are provided with the enabling environment for academic and allied activities.
“Any academic staff, who fails to resume on or before the 4th of December, 2013 automatically ceases to be a staff of the institution
“Vice-Chancellors are also directed to advertise vacancies (internal and external) in their institutions.
“The National Universities Commission is hereby directed to monitor the compliance of these directives by the various institutions.
“The Federal Government has met all its Commitment and obligations with respect to the FG/ASUU 2009 Agreement. We appeal to all stakeholders to appreciate the position of government, which is in the best interest of our dear country.”
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