PRESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan yesterday night described the strike embark by the University lecturers as unfortunate, declaring that the action has serious political undertone.
Answering questions during the Presidential Media Chat last night as part of the programmes, marking the 53rd Independence Anniversary of Nigeria, Jonathan said “Why should a state university lecturer go on strike for a federal problem?, the president queried.
The president noted that the strike had political colouration giving the commitment of the current administration to address the challenges of university education and the refusal of ASUU to call off the strike despite the fact that government has conceded to many of their demands in the 2009 agreement.
Jonathan, however, stressed that there are some items in the agreement that are implementable such as the demand for transfer of government landed property to universities.
The earned allowances, the President explained are supposed to be paid from the internally generated revenues of the universities.
He added that as part of government commitment to transform the nation’s universities, he set up Needs Assessment Committee who visited all public universities in Nigeria to take inventory of the institutions.
He regretted that ASUU has failed to recognize government in this direction, insisting that there have been many strikes in this country and those strikes were without such commitment as demonstrated his government.
Even though, he stated that his commitment is total to make changes, but he hinted at the need to revisit our labour laws because of the excesses of the trade unions.
“We will begin to look at the labour laws because of the excesses of labour unions,” he said.
President Jonathan used the occasion to call on the Academic Staff Union of Universities to call off the strike in the interest of Nigeria and the children.
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