Disturbed by the lingering national strike embarked upon by university lecturers, the Public Complaints’ Commission (PCC), has held a truce meeting with the leadership of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), for timeous resolution of the crisis.
The ASUU Chairman, Federal University, Oye Ekiti, Dr. Gabriel Omonijo and his counterpart in the Ekiti State University, Dr. Kayode Arogundade, represented the union at the parley, while the students were led by the Chairman, NANS/JCC, Ekiti axis, Com. Felix Olanrewaju.
At the trouble-shooting meeting held in Ado Ekiti, on Wednesday, the PCC Commissioner, Ekiti State office, Mr. Kayode Bamisile, said every right thinking Nigerian must be disturbed by the lingering strike in the universities.
Bamisile said the PCC waded into the matter as a federal government agency, couped with complaints being received from the public over blockage of Ado-Iworoko-Ifaki road by students, causing economic damage to the State.
Having listened to the two unions, the PCC boss said: “I love the way you have conducted yourselves. I will take your positions to our Chief Commissioner in Abuja for onward transmission to the Minister of Education because part of our administrative duties is the peaceful resolution of industrial disputes.
“We are all worried with the current trend where all campuses are under lock and key. Our university system must be strong to enjoy global patronage. I am optimistic that our intervention will yield good result”.
Earlier in his position, NANS/JCC leader, Com. Olanrewaju, said as much as the students were angry with the FG for reneging on its promises to academic staff, ASUU’s closure of schools was not the best option, saying this signposted insensitivity and wickedness.
Olanrewaju added that the crisis between ASUU and FG was affecting the students’ lives and the future of the country, threatening that his colleagues will be on the streets protesting until the impasse is resolved amicably.
“ASUU and FG must come together and settle this as mature and scholarly individuals, that is our unyielding position. Nigeria can’t be building its future leaders this way, if they continue with this strike, it means we have no future.
“We are ready to be on the streets until the right things are done. The ASUU ought to be the seat of intellect and builders of intellectuals. Why should the same people keep all students at home? No, we disagree with this. Let them know that the coming protest will be worse than EndSARS,” he said.
Expressing disgust at the ways ASUU members were being treated in his presentation, FUOYE chairperson, Dr. Omonijo said it was worrisome that the salary structures operational in universities was approved in 2009, lamenting that the highest paid Professor in Nigeria earns N508,000.
“Regrettably, ASUU is one of the least paid workers in Nigeria. Our universities in terms of infrastructure are nothing but relics and we have made it clear that our universities must not die the way our primary and secondary schools died. Hardly could you see any parent now sending his wards to public schools.
“The issue is very simple, the FG must listen to us. They must fulfill the agreements reached with us on funding of universities, autonomy, the issue of IPPIS and our general welfare, to stop brain drain and the killing of our educational system,” he declared.