Major General Muhammadu Buhari (ret.) the president has once more urged trade unions, particularly the Academic and Staff Union of Universities, to forgo going on strike in order to more effectively advance their demands.
He made this plea on Thursday at the International Conference Centre in Ibadan during the University of Ibadan’s 74th Foundation Day/Convocation ceremonies.
Strikes, according to Buhari, would only exacerbate the education sector’s dire situation and damage public universities’ standing at home and abroad.
The President further urged the unions to exercise restraint at all times in a message that was delivered by Professor Abubakar Rasheed, Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission.
It is disheartening that almost all of the university trade unions, including ASUU, SSANU, NASU, and NAAT, declared a protracted trade dispute in the previous year. This had negative effects on our economy, caused an unnecessary disruption to our academic calendar, and left our youth feeling frustrated and insecure.
“I therefore want to make a call to our unions to always exercise restraint and pursue their objectives through dialogue and constant respect. I want to reassure everyone involved in the education industry that the federal government is still committed to the welfare of all employees and students. Within the constraints of the resources at the government’s disposal, we will continue to address the numerous contentious issues in our various institutions.
“On their part, the university staff and other stakeholders need to understand that although my government’s commitment hasn’t wavered, our national economy, like the economies of most countries in the world, hasn’t been in great shape since and even before the COVID-19 pandemic crippled it.
Alhaji Muhammadu Abubakar III, the institution’s chancellor, said in his welcome speech that the eight months of industrial action this year disrupted the academic calendar by keeping students at home, which hurt their education.
When the need arose, he hoped the unions would look into alternative dispute resolution procedures.