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Saturday, 30 November 2013

FG Deploys Policemen to Federal Universities in Nigeria

The Federal Government versus ASUU showdown. Who will give in to the other? I think our government seems to be towing the path of Tyranny. But is this the best way to resolve the issue at hand?  

The Federal Government of Nigeria has directed the Inspector General of Police, Alhaji Mohammed Abubakar, to deploy policemen to all federal universities in the country in its bid to ensure resumption of academic activities in universities on or before December 4.

This development was disclosed at an emergency meeting the Federal Government held with all vice-chancellors of federal universities at the National Universities Commission building in Abuja on Friday. The Acting Minister of Education, Chief Nyesom Wike, and the Executive Secretary of the NUC, Prof Julius Okojie, were also at the meeting.

The Friday meeting began at 9am and lasted for two hours. Part of the meeting’s deliberations, was centred on how to recruit new lecturers to fill the space of ASUU members who might refuse to obey government’s directive. Also, the vice-chancellors were directed to call students back to campus on Sunday in preparation for academic activities which should start on Monday.

Wike, had on Thursday ordered lecturers to resume duties on or before December 4 or face being sacked summarily by the Federal Government. Also, the vice-chancellors were directed to open registers in their institutions where ASUU members that resume work would sign so that those who failed to resume could be sacked. Nigerian universities are currently in need of at least 30,000 lecturers because of acute shortage of lecturers in the university system.

There are also indications that the Federal Government and university lecturers may be heading for a clash, as the December 4 deadline given by the Federal Government for the lecturers to return to work, is also the date set aside by ASUU to bury a former President of the union Prof. Festus Iyayi.

Iyayi died in a ghastly auto accident along the Abuja-Lokoja Road when the vehicle in which he was travelling had a collision with the convoy of Governor Idris Wada of Kogi State on November 12, 2013. The former ASUU chairman was on his way to Kano to attend a crucial meeting of the union which was called to deliberate on the Federal Government’s offer to the lecturers.

The Federal Government claims it decided to go tough on ASUU because the union made fresh demands in its letter to the government as a condition for calling off the lingering strike action.
ASUU had demanded payment of the four-month salary arrears of its members from July when the strike commenced and the release of N200bn that President Goodluck Jonathan promised to inject into the university system within the next two weeks. The union also said the agreement reached between it and the Federal Government should be signed by the Minister of Justice and the Attorney General of the Federation.

Source : Punch

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