Strike: ASUU’s Problem Not Simple ― FG
Education

Strike: ASUU’s problem not simple ― FG

Lai Mohammed

Strike: ASUU’s problem not simple ― FG

The issues involved in the ongoing strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and the other three university-based unions are more complicated than they seem, the federal government has said.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, stated this while briefing correspondents at the end of the virtual Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Wednesday.



The minister’s remark came on a day the Council also approved the establishment of e-learning centres for primary schools across the 36 States of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

The university lecturers have been on strike since 14th February 2022 over unresolved issues with the federal government.

Also on strike over other disputes are the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities, (SSANU), Non-Academic Union of Universities and Associated Institutions, (NASU) and the National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT)

Fielding questions on why the government approved the establishment of e-learning centres but was unable to resolve problems with unions in the public universities, he said that the government is worried over the long closure of the institutions and making frantic efforts to ensure that all the contentious issues are resolved.

Muhammed who briefed the media on behalf of the Minister of Education said: “And then the other question has to do with the with ASUU strike. I think if I remember this e-learning, I think it has to do more with primary schools and not universities.

“And I don’t think because we’re having challenges with the university lectures, we should stop primary school students from continuing with their education.

“And I wish that the ASUU issue is as simple as many of us think it is. I don’t think it’s that simple. But I want to assure you that a lot is going on behind the scenes.

“And I think probably the Minister of Education will be better positioned to give the details. But like any government, if we’re not concerned, we would not set up all the committees which have been working on. If we are not concerned we will not be looking for means to even assuage the feelings of the union.

“We’re worried we’re concerned, and we’ll continue to work towards finding an early resolution of the problem.”

On the approval by FEC, the Minister said: “The Honourable Minister of Education has sought approval from Council for the award of contracts for the provision of a satellite-based education system for 109 e-learning centres across the 36 states of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory.

“The contract was for the sum of N964 million and is in favour of Messrs Nas Navigation. The purpose of the memo is to provide each senatorial district in the country with e-learning provisions. Each state has three senatorial districts and the FCT has one senatorial district.

“The scope of the project is the provision of a satellite-based education system for about 4,360 users in the 109 senatorial districts and it was through the installation of a 109 receiver satellite unit model antenna in three schools in each state.

“Installation and provision of 109 vast mile server in three schools in each state connecting up to 100 device installation of 109 server units for receiver terminals and deployment of 4,360 Android tablets.”

At the Aviation Ministry, Mohammed said the 16 airports would benefit from the projects jointly worth N24.35 billion.

He said: “The Minister of Aviation presented two memos one was for the award of contract for the upgrade of twelve output tower voice communication and control system radio for Akure, Benin, Calabar, Ibadan, Ilorin, Jos, Minna, Owerri, Sokoto, Yola, Kaduna and Enugu air traffic control towers for the sum of N9.99bn with the completion period of 30 months.

“As you are aware NAMA which is the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency has the mandate to enhance the safety and security of the Nigerian Airspace. And it is in line with this that it sought to upgrade 12 airport control towers’ voice communication and control systems because the existing control tower facilities currently in use in the 12 airports are aged and obsolete in some cases. Hence, the an urgent need to upgrade the facilities to enhance their capabilities for better performance in conformity with technological advancement and industry best practices.”

The Ministry of Aviation also sought and obtained approval for the award of contract for the procurement and installation of air airfield lighting and Instrument Landing Systems in Lagos, Abuja, Katsina and Port Harcourt airports.

Mohammed explained that “The memo was approved and the contract was awarded in the sum of N14.36bn. As I said, this is in a bid to carry on the mandate of developing and managing all relevant aviation facilities for safe, secure, efficient carriage of passengers and goods and this actually has been necessitated by the increase we have witnessed in recent times in passenger traffic in these major airports.”

The aviation contract was part of the total of N91.3 billion approved by FEC for the execution of various projects in the Ministries of Works and Housing, Education and Aviation.

Others include N66.983 billion for the rehabilitation of the 91.94 kilometres Kashimbila-Takum-Chanchangi Road in Taraba State and a combined sum of N24.35bn for control tower equipment and runway lighting in 16 local and international airports.

Speaking on Works contracts, Fashola, said: “The Ministry of Works and Housing presented one memorandum and it was for the rehabilitation of the 91.94 kilometres Kashimbila-Takum-Chanchangi Road in Taraba State. Council approved the proposal by the ministry to award the contract for the rehabilitation of this road in the sum of N66.983bn in favour of MESSRS SCC Construction Company.”

On his part, the Minister of the interior, Aregbesola, revealed that the Council repealed the 60-year-old Fire Service Act CAP F29LFN 2004 and in its stead, approved the enactment of the Federal Fire and Rescue Establishment Act 2022 which, he said, is modernizing the operation and professionalism of the federal fire service.

He added: “The delivery of service to Nigerians and establishments in Nigeria as it is expected. The Attorney-General is expected to process and present to the national assembly for review and ultimate passage. We expect that the law when eventually passed and approved by the president, will help in improving the capability and capacity of the Federal Fire Service professionally and in capacity development.”

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