Negotiations among the Senate, the Federal Government and the leadership of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU over the ongoing industrial action embarked on by universities lecturers hit a deadlock yesterday, as it ended without the parties involved reaching any compromise.
The meeting which was at the instance of the chairman, Senate Committee on Education, Senator Uche Chukwumerije, PDP Abia North, was called to pacify the striking lecturers with a bid to finding a common ground. However, a source at the meeting revealed that all efforts to push for a call off of the strike proved abortive as members of ASUU stood their grounds.
The source also said that for well over seven hours, Chukwumerije was literarily on his knees pleading with the lecturers to consider the plight of the students and call off the strike, but ASUU members refused to shift ground.
The meeting had in attendance, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim, Minister of Education, Professor Ruquayyatu Rufai; Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission, NUC, Professor Julius Okojie and members of the Senate Committee on Education,among others.
Earlier, some students of the University of Lagos expressed their minds on the ongoing strike. While some appeal to the lecturers to return to the classroom for the sakes of the students, others say if strike action is the only way to get what they want, it should continue.
A year 4 student of the Faculty of Law who pleaded anonymity said the strike should continue as long as ASUU needs it to get what they want.
“If the strike is suspended now without the demands of the lecturers being met, I assure you we will soon return to the same situation.
“We should not be selfish about this. I hate that I have to suspend my studies because of the strike, but if the government obliges now, we would have saved the coming generation the same fate.
“If the FG meet their demands, I don’t see another strike coming up in the next five years. That means a student can gain admission this year and not witness what they call strike until he graduates,” he said.
“There is a question I always ask; Is the government incapable of meeting their demands? The honest answer is no. They (lecturers) are being treated this way because the worst they can do is go on strike, and it does not in any way affect the economy or people in government. Their kids school abroad, remember?”