The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, said on Tuesday the Senate would intervene in the lingering dispute between the Federal government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) by bringing them back to the negotiation table.
Lawan stated this when concerned Methodist Bishop, Dr. Sunday Onuoha, led officials of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) to his office in Abuja.
The NANS President, Mr. Sunday Asefon, who spoke on behalf of the students, decried their continued stay at home and disruption of the students’ academic programme.
He urged the Senate President to intervene in the dispute between the Federal government and the university teachers.
In his remark, the Senate President expressed unhappiness about the turn of events and recalled that the Senate had intervened in the matter in the past.
He, however, promised that the Senate would wade into the matter again and expressed optimism that the issues would be resolved soon.
Lawan said: “You are in the right place. We are going to intervene. We will make concerted and sustained efforts to bring back ASUU and the Federal government to the negotiating table.
“So that we are able to resolve as quickly as possible those issues that are now very knotty and have stopped our universities from reopening.
“That is now making our students walk the streets all over the country.
“But I want to appeal to you, too, since we are going to make an effort to bring everybody back to the negotiating table, you should give us a chance to do that believing that we are going to find a solution.
“Because it is not only enough to bring them back to the negotiating table, but we will participate and I want to make sure that we find the solution when we start the negotiation again.
“Now that you have come here, we are going to make sure that everybody in this sector, especially those in the public sector who have responsibility and mandate perform their functions.
“We will make sure they do that.
“Because you have come, I think we also have some tonic in us. Time is of essence and we must do whatever is necessary to get this issue resolved.”
He also appealed to the students to continue in the path of consultation and avoid confrontation.
“I also want to advise, I don’t think it will be necessary to disrupt political activities. We shouldn’t do that and we don’t need to do that.
“What we need to do is to continue to follow the path of consultation, consolidation, and avoid confrontation.
“It is when you emphasize consultation, it is much easier for us to find something that you can consolidate.
“Your prayer is that you want the Federal government and ASUU back to negotiate and resolve the issues.
“We have taken this prayer. We have endorsed it and we will work for it as quickly as possible.
“It is an opportunity for me also to appeal to ASUU to suspend this strike period because there is no way ASUU can negotiate with the Federal government when it is on strike.”
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