MINORITY Whip in the House of Representatives, Mr. Samson Osagie, has described the recent threat by the supervising Minister of Education, Mr. Nyesom Wike, giving four days ultimatum to members of Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, to call off their strike or be sacked, as uncalled for.
Osagie, who spoke with journalists in Benin, Edo State, weekend, said the minister’s utterances were capable of worsening the crisis.
Meanwhile, the Coalition to Save Nigeria, CSN, has said that it was wicked for the Federal Government to issue ultimatum to ASUU, when the remains of the late former President of the union, Prof. Festus Iyayi, were yet to be buried.
The coalition described the President Goodluck Jonathan-led administration as unserious and urged the union to disregard the threat and ensure that government implements the agreement to the letter.
National Co-ordinator of the coalition, Dr. Philip Ugbodaga, in a statement in Benin, said: “We consider this resumption order to be wicked, callous, reckless and extremely uncaring. I am aware that the burial ceremony for the late literary guru commences about the same period. So, the reported resumption order is carefully calculated to embarrass ASUU members, cow them to submission and prevent them from paying their last respect to a hero of the Nigerian revolutionary struggle.”
Osagie insisted that the recent development in the polity would not threaten the current leadership in the House of Representatives.
He said: “It is unfortunate that our universities have to be shut down for this long period of time. It is not healthy for our educational system and it is going to have a very monumental impact on our education. I also do not expect the kind of threat that the Minister of Education is carrying out, but at the same time, we must all put the interest of this country above every other interest.
“ I just hope that they should work out these issues as quickly as possible. Both sides have their shortcomings in the whole arrangement, but I believe we must do things in order to ensure that our students are back to school, because they have almost forgotten that they are students in the universities and it is unhealthy for us.
“I am disappointed at the way things are going and I pray earnestly because our children are feeling the impact. So, it is unhealthy. The recent threat from the Minister of Education is uncalled for and I believe that it only has the capacity to worsen the situation.
“But at the same time, I also believe that ASUU should re-strategise so that it can devise other means aimed at settling the industrial disputes. I accept their argument of better funding for our universities because they are comatose, but I believe that strikes are not the only legitimate way to demand for changes.”