THE Senate yesterday intervened in the dispute between the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and the Federal Government over conditions of service.
A source said the Minister of Education, Prof. Rukayyatu Rufa’i and her Labour counterpart, Emeka Wogu, met with the Senate Committee on Education yesterday over the strike.
It was learnt that the meeting resolved to set up a task force to work out the modalities for addressing the issues at stake.
The source added that the resuscitation of Visitation Panels and appointment of governing boards of polytechnics featured at the meeting.
The implementation of Consolidated Tertiary Salary Structure (CONTISS) was also said to have been discussed.
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Education, Uche Chukwumerije, reportedly expressed concerns about unending strikes in tertiary institutions.
The source said Prof Rufa’i briefed the Senate on how ASUU declared its indefinite strike to compel the Federal Government to implement the agreement reached with the union in October 2009.
Academic activities were paralysed yesterday in most universities as ASUU began its strike.
Academic activities were grounded yesterday at the University of Ibadan (UI).
Most students, who were on campus for early morning lectures, were surprised that none of their lecturers showed up.
Although all lecture rooms were open, but no academic activities took place in any of them.
The disappointed students retired to their residential halls after waiting in vain for lectures.
When our reporter visited the campus yesterday, nothing was happening there.
Addressing reporters yesterday, ASUU’s National Treasurer Dr Ademola Aremu said the strike order was fully complied with at UI.
The university community, he said, was carried along in the effort to reposition the nation’s education sector from collapse.
According to him, the UI Vice Chancellor was aware of the strike.
The branch’s ASUU Secretary, Dr Ayodeji Omole said: “We had thought that with someone like Dr Goodluck Jonathan, education would be better off. But we are worse off.”
A letter by Dr Omole to the Vice Chancellor, reads: “In view of the unsatisfactory state of the implementation of the 2009 agreement, the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), after exhaustive deliberations, asked various branches to resume the suspended indefinite strike from July 1. You are hereby duly informed that all our members in the University of Ibadan have, effective from today, July 1, complied accordingly and withdrawn from all academic activities, including teaching, supervision and all statutory and ad-hoc meetings.”
The strike paralysed activities at the three universities in Rivers State.
The lecturers at the University of Port Harcourt (UNIPORT), the Rivers State University of Science and Technology (RSUST), Port Harcourt, and the Ignatius Ajuru (formerly Rivers State) University of Education, Port Harcourt, participated in the action.
Some of the lecturers, who spoke in confidence, told The Nation that the Federal Government should be blamed for the strike.
They vowed not to return to work until their demands, stipulated in the 2009 agreement, were met.
The strike, to the students and lecturers of the RSUST, was a continuation of the past action.
They noted that ASUU members at the university had been on strike since August 13, last year, to protest the reappointment of Prof. Barineme Fakae as the Vice-Chancellor.
When ASUU Chairman at UNIPORT, Prof. Antonia Okerengwo, was contacted at 5.24 pm for an assessment of the compliance with the strike at the federal university, his MTN line kept ringing without an answer.
Lecturers of the University of Jos (UNIJOS) yesterday abandoned classes in compliance with the ASUU strike.
At an emergency meeting of the university’s ASUU chapter at its secretariat, members were said to have reviewed the situation and aligned with the decision of its national body.