A week after university lecturers across Nigeria commenced an indefinite strike, the Federal Government said it is taking all necessary steps to resolve the contending issues.
The Minister of Education, Professor Ruqayyatu Rufa’I, on yesterday also appealed to the lecturers, members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), to suspend the strike and resume duties.
Ms. Rufa’I, who made the appeal at a meeting with vice-chancellors of Nigerian universities in Abuja, said: “we plead with them to go back to classes.
“We are having a meeting tomorrow at the National Assembly with the Senate and House of Representatives to resolve all the issues.
“Besides, the white paper on the 2010 Visitation Panel Reports on Federal Universities has since been released and forwarded to the universities for implementation.
“Consequently, monitoring teams will soon visit the universities to ensure implementation of the recommendations.”
The minister noted with dismay that many private and state universities were yet to establish effective governance structures and that the development had grave implications for the running and development of the universities.
She noted that the issue of the award of honorary degrees to undeserving personalities remained an embarrassment to government. Ms. Rufa’I said the Federal Government was disturbed by the continuous establishment of universities and running of programmes without regard to due process.
She advised those culpable to desist from such acts which were capable of inflicting injury on the university education system.
She also pledged her support for the Standing Committee on the Closure of Illegal Universities.
“My attention has also been drawn to the mobilisation of unqualified students for the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC.) “In line with the extant rules, the NYSC is exclusively for graduates from recognised universities and accredited programmes,” she said.
She directed universities to, as a matter of expediency, ensure that degree results were released early to aid quick mobilisation of qualified students for the NYSC programme.
Ms. Rufa’I warned that institutions undertaking wrong mobilisation of students for the national service would henceforth be sanctioned.
ASUU had last week, embarked on the indefinite strike to protest government’s failure to implement certain agreements reached with the union since 1999.