Seek alternatives to strike, Buhari begs trade unions

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The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), has again appealed to trade unions, especially the Academic and Staff Union of Universities, to shun strike as a tool for pressing home their demands.

He made this appeal on Thursday at the 74th Foundation Day/Convocation ceremonies of the University of Ibadan at the International Conference Centre, Ibadan.

Buhari said strike actions would only compound the already poor state of the education sector and erode the national and international reputation of public universities.

The President, whose message was delivered by the Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission, Professor Abubakar Rasheed, made a further appeal to the unions to always show restrain

He said, “It is disheartening that in the outgoing year, virtually all the university trade unions, ASUU, SSANU, NASU, and NAAT, declared a protracted trade dispute with dire consequences for our economy, an unnecessary distraction of our academic calendar, and the consequence of frustration and insecurity among our youths.

“I therefore wish to appeal to our unions to always show restraint and seek their goals through negotiations and mutual respect at all times. Let me assure all stakeholders in the education sector that the Federal government remains committed to the welfare of all staff and students. We shall continue to deal with the many contested issues in our various institutions within the limits of the resources available to the government.

“On their parts, the university staff and other stakeholders need to appreciate the fact that our national economy, like the economies of most countries in the world, has not been in good shape since and even before the crippling of the COVID-19 pandemic, but my government’s commitment remains unshaken.”

In his opening address, the Chancellor of the institution, Alhaji Muhammadu  Abubakar III, said the eight months of industrial action this year disrupted the academic calendar, keeping students at home to the detriment of their education.

He hoped that the unions would explore other dispute resolution mechanisms when the need arose.

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