The Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, has said that he is surprised over the puroted one-month industrial action embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union of Universities on Monday.
This is as he said, if after several negotiations between ASUU and FG they have not reached a truce, then the fault is no longer the government’s.
Adamu said this on Wednesday while fielding questions from State House Correspondents shortly after the weekly Federal Executive Council meeting.
According to him, “ASUU, unfortunately, they have gone on strike and I am looking for them because all the issues are being addressed.
“The last thing that happened was that our committee looked at their demands but there are renegotiations going on. They submitted a draft agreement which the ministry is looking at.”
The Minister said that ASUU’s decision came abruptly amidst ongoing negotiations.
Speaking of ASUU’s draft agreement, he said, “A committee is looking at it. Immediately it finishes, the government is meant to announce what it had accepted. Then suddenly, I heard them going on strike.”
On allegations from ASUU about his absence from meetings, he said “ASUU will never say that. I always call the meeting myself. The meetings I didn’t attend were those that happened when I was in hospital in Germany.
“We want a peaceful resolution. The federal government is ready to meet them on all issues they have raised and if there are so many meetings and the gap is not closing, then I think it’s not the fault of the government.
“There is a solution to this. The negotiations are the solution and that is why I have said that I am surprised that ASUU has gone on strike.”
Asked if the government can reach an agreement with ASUU before the end of the 30-day strike, Adamu said, “I can’t give you time. I am ready to reach an agreement with ASUU now but since I’m not the only one, I can’t give you time but certainly, we are going to reach an agreement very soon.”
On the striking disparity in cut-off marks for common entrance examinations across various parts of the nation, the Minister said the low cut-off marks in the North are meant to comply with the requirements of the Federal Character Commission.
“I have nothing to say on that. I am not aware of any difference unless it is meant to satisfy the requirements of Federal character. I think the federal character is required for the nation and it is accepted. There is nothing we can do about that. There would come a time when it would not be necessary,” Adamu stated.