- President Buhari has reacted to the ongoing ASUU strike
- The president pleaded with the lecturers to suspend the strike in the interest of the country
- He admitted that the education sector has funding challenge and pledged that his administration will continue funding it through annual appropriation and other interventions
President Muhammadu Buhari has urged the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to suspend its on-going industrial action in the interest of the country.
The president gave the charge on Tuesday, December 18, during the 3rd convocation ceremony of the Alex Ekwueme Federal University, Ndufu-Alike, Ikwo (AE-FUNAI) Ebonyi.
Buhari, who was represented by Victor Onuoha, deputy executive secretary of the National Universities Commission (NUC) said the government was aware of the challenges confronting the sector.
“We are not unmindful of the funding challenge faced by the education sector, occasioned by dwindling resources and other competing national needs.
“We will, however, continue doing the needful to improve the nation’s educational sector within available, limited resources,” he said.
The president said that his administration realised the importance of education in nation building and pledged its continued support and provision to the sector.
“We will continue providing specific infrastructure through annual appropriation and other interventions such as the Tertiary Education Trust (TET) Fund, NEEDS assessment, among others.
“Universities have critical roles to play in nation building as they must justify their establishment through excellent, production-based research activities, innovative ideas, empowerment of youths among others,” he said.
He congratulated the Alake of Egbaland, HRH Michael Gbadebo and Prof. Ihechukwu Madubuike, former minister of education and health for the conferment of honourary doctoral degrees on them by the institution.
“The conferment is in recognition of their immense contributions to the development of the nation’s university system.
“I congratulate AE-FUNAI for the successful organisation of its third convocation ceremony and urge the graduands to utilise the opportunity and excel in their chosen careers,” he said.
Prof. Chinedum Nwajiuba, the university’s vice chancellor noted that the institution decided to honour its chancellor, Gbadebo and Madubike for their immense contributions to the education sector of the country.
“355 graduands are being celebrated presently as against 247 during our second convocation in 2017 and 124 in 2016.
“The 355 graduands are being awarded bachelors degrees as follows: Faculty of Basic Management Sciences 62; Humanities 44; Management and Social Sciences 148; and Sciences 101,” he said.
He noted that among the 355 graduands, 15 emerged with first class honours, 188 with second class honours (upper division) 145 with second class honours (lower division) and seven with third class.
Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi, represented by the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Dr Hyginus Nwokwu noted that the state government would collaborate with the institution to attain its desired global standard.
“The government is donating N40million to the institution’s Faculty of Engineering to harness its students’ skills in meeting the contemporary development challenges facing the society,” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Gbadebo and Madubuike donated N5million and N4million each respectively to the university for developmental purposes.
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Meanwhile, Legit.ng previously reported that the federal government said that that talks with the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) had so far been fruitful, expressing optimism that the ongoing strike will soon be called off.
The overnment’s optimism, according to the minister of labour and employment, Chris Ngige, was predicated on the federal government’s consideration of some of ASUU’s demands.
The demands include the submission of the union’s list of outstanding payments, and the identification of some areas in the universities in need of revitalisation as contained in the signed 2009 agreement.
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