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Nigeria: Lagos appeals to striking university staff

ASUU Strike

BY HENRY IFEANYI

Lagos State Government has appealed to striking lecturers of the state-owned university to embrace dialogue instead of the industrial action.

The state described the strike as a crude attempt to force new terms and conditions of service on the university.

The State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Lateef Ibirogba, said the striking members of the local branch of Academic Staff Union of University (ASUU) appeared to be whipping up sentiments to justify a premeditated industrial action, as all the points did not warrant an indefinite strike action.

The lecturers’ union executives, according to him, have in an attempt to rush out on strike, evaded all attempts to make them follow due process and engage in reasoned dialogue.

The commissioner said further that the lecturers should have exhausted the dialogue option before resorting to a strike which, he insisted, could by law only be called after a well constituted meeting.

He said following a “14 day ultimatum” issued by the union, the government set up an ad-hoc committee which examined all the points raised by the lecturers.

Ibirogba expressed surprise at how this could have justified a strike since the lecturers themselves knew that Government was already in constructive discussions with the students.

“”It is a matter of fact that the students have already submitted a position paper on the issue which government has also constituted a seven-man committee to review and advise upon,” he said.

He added that the university’s main source of funding (80 percent) was from the state government while the new fee regime accounted for only 10 percent with the Governing Council being mandated to fund the balance of 10 percent.

He also disagreed with the claims of the lecturers’ union, which blamed the new fee regime for low enrolment into the university, maintaining that the perennial unstable academic calendar of the university being caused by incessant restiveness among staff unions impacted negatively on the perception of the public and in turn affect the enrolment figures of the institution adversely. 

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