Quick resolution of the lingering ASUU-federal government crisis was top on the agenda of stakeholders in Kwara State at a town hall meeting called by the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed.
The groups, who frowned at the unending friction and disagreement between the federal government and public university lecturers, said among other inconveniences, idleness created by the eight-month ASUU strike made Nigerian youths to be ready tools in the hands of trouble makers.
Among the stakeholders at the event included civil societies, students, Academic Staff Union of Universities University of Ilorin, market women, farmers, NACCIMA, NURTW and RTEAN
Leading the agitators include the Emir of Ilorin, Alhaji Ibrahim Sulu-Gambari, Chairman of the University of Ilorin chapter of ASUU, Professor Moyo Ajao, President, Kwara State chapter of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), Azeez Jaji, among others like parents and professional associations.
The traditional ruler, who described the lingering strike as irritating, said children and wards of the poor parents in the country are mostly suffering the effect of the disagreement between the lecturers and the federal government.
“The issue of the ASUU strike is highly irritating. The poor parents in the country are those who have children in these public universities. They are the ones who suffer negative effect of the unending ASUU strike. It’s only the rich that can send their children to private tertiary institutions or abroad for studies.
“So I urge the government to look into the issue and resolve it as quickly as possible. Enough is enough. It’s no longer palatable,” he said.
Also speaking, Professor Ajao, accused the federal government of discouraging negotiation with the ASUU leadership.
The university don, who accused the federal government of using hunger and starvation to fight striking lecturers, said government has refused to pay their salary for the past eight months.
He also appealed to the government to be more committed to the educational development of the Nigerian youth.
Also, members of NANS, who came into the hall singing solidarity song, echoed what the monarch and the lecturer said, calling for immediate and quick resolution of the strike.
Other issues raised at the town hall meeting include continued border closure, women development, youth empowernment, infrastructural development, among others.
The convener of the event, Alhaji Lai Mohammed delivered the message of President Muhammadu Buhari, appealing to Nigerians, especially youths to bear with his administration in the face of daunting requests and socio-economic challenges in the country.
The minister, who noted that the nation is just recovering from the ugly effects of the coronavirus pandemic and the #EndSARS protests in many parts of the country, said the federal government is committed to educational, economic, security and youth development, among other areas of growth to serve people better. Mohammed said population explosion is part of the challenges facing the country’s socio-economic development, as against fewer population figure of the past, adding that the government would not rest on its oars at making life better for the citizenry.
Speaking on the lingering ASUU-federal government disagreement, the minister said moves are on to put an end to the strike, adding that the ministers involved and the ASUU leadership are still working towards an amicable resolution of the matter.
On continued border closure, he said the closure was not aimed at inconveniencing Nigerians, especially women, adding that it also had to do with the nation’s security issues, health, promotion of local industrial growth and economic development.
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