‘Lecturers, family members starving to death’ – APC senator, Orji Kalu begs Buhari to resolve lingering ASUU strike

All Progressives Congress (APC), Orji Uzor Kalu has appealed to Buhari’s government to resolve the lingering strike Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).

Recall, the ongoing ASUU strike began on February 14, 2022, before Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU), Non-Academic Staff Union of Universities and Allied Educational Institutions (NASU) National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT) joined.

Some of the demands date back to the unimplemented 2009 agreement the Federal Government had with the union.

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Following the strike, the federal government stopped the lecturers salaries saying it is compliance with  Section 43 of the Labour Law and that it cannot continue to be ‘Father Christmas’.

On August 1, 2022, the union rolled over the strike with four weeks as the government failed to accede to its demands, despite the protest held by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) in solidarity with the union.

Kalu, a former governor of Abia State, showing concern to the plight of the students, on Wednesday, August 9, 2022, in a video on his verified Facebook page, said that there was a need for the union and the federal government to reach a truce immediately for the benefit of students.

He said, “I will like to appeal to both ASUU and the Federal Government to change their stands. A lot of students from my constituency have been calling me and I feel that it is a godly thing for all Nigerians, religious and political leaders and all of us to put our hands together to return ASUU back to work.

“And also save the family of ASUU members. Some of them are starving to death because they have been staying for five months without salaries.

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“I want to also appeal to FG to reconsider, even if it is paying some of their salaries and continue with the negotiations. It is even contained in the Holy Bible and Quran that where you sow is where you reap.

“Lecturers have no farm, no business and have nothing to sustain them. I’m calling on all parties involved including the FG of Nigeria to see what they can do immediately,” he said.

Meanwhile, the governor of Ebonyi State, David Umahi on Wednesday, has also asked the leadership of ASUU, to end months lingering strike.

Umahi urged the federal government led by President Muhammadu Buhari to shift grounds in negotiating with the union leadership.

The governor made this known while addressing the board of Trustees of the Nigeria Police Trust Fund, NPTF, during in a courtesy call at his office in Abakaliki.

He said, “Our basic problem in the country remains security, health and education. Let me say a little about the ASUU strike. I think that our educational system is improperly articulated. University education is not for everybody and that is the truth. The basic education that every country strives to attain is secondary and vocational schools.

“There is a need to review our educational system and it mustn’t be for everybody. I don’t see how we can’t sit down with ASUU leaders and iron out this ASUU strike. I have seen how painful it is for the students to sit at home instead of being in school. But there is no way the country Nigeria will go and borrow #1.1trillion to meet ASUU demands. It’s unreasonable.

“Are ASUU’s demands genuine? yes. But we can start little by little. There must be a commitment on the side of both ASUU and the federal government. ASUU is not asking for this, for them to take to their house but for the betterment of our children. We can start by a fraction of that demands and have a program that we run with sincerity” he stated

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