The House of Representatives has decided to wade into the lingering disagreement between the Federal Government and the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnic (ASUP), Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union (COEASU), with a view to resolve the ten-month old strike.
The decision was made sequel to a motion under the matters of urgent national importance moved by Rep Raphael Nnanna Igbokwe (PDP-Imo) on the need to for the leadership of the House to interface with the federal government as well as the striking Unions in order to resolve the ten months impasse.
Rep Igbokwe, while leading debate on the matter told the House that the continuous staying at home of the affected students poses a great danger, not only to the educational development of the students but also to the social well-being of the nation in general.
“It is is worrisome that the Polytechnics and Colleges of Education have been shut down for ten months; more-so that ASUP and COEASU began their agitation even before the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) embarked on their strike. And I remember that a platform was created by this House for its resolution, but surprisingly, nothing has been done about their agitations”, he said.
He added that “the continuous closure of these institutions is inimical to the wellbeing of our society”.
Reacting, Deputy Speaker of the House, Hon. Emeka Ihedioha who presided over the plenary admitted seeing protesting lecturers of the affected institutions at the entrance of the National Assembly on Tuesday and directed the Deputy Chairperson, House Committee on Education, Rep Rose Okoh (PDP-Cross River) to make contact and report back to the leadership of the House on the way forward. He called on the Rep Okoh to brief the House on her findings.
In her response, the Deputy Chairperson, Hon. Rose Okoh told the House that issues surrounding the agitation have been haphazardly handled. “Agreements reached between the federal government and the Unions were not implemented even when the Unions agreed to make concession on their demands and which they did. The government has allowed the crisis to linger”, she said.
Avoiding the temptation to condemn the handling of the Tuesday’s protest by security operatives as suggested by some members following media reports of mar handling of protesters by the Police, the Deputy Speaker assured members of the leadership’s willingness to intervene with a view to resolving the differences between interested parties.