Mrs. Ibukun Odusote, Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, has appealed to university lecturers to end their three-week-old strike “in the interest of the nation”.
It was reported that the lecturers, under the aegis of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), embarked on an indefinite strike on Nov. 5, and have vowed to remain at home until their demands are met.
Among their demands are adequate funding for public universities and the payment of salaries and allowances owed their colleagues in state universities.
It was also reported that several meetings between ASUU officials and the Federal Government toward ending the strike have not yielded any result.
But Odusote, while addressing delegates of the African Students Union Parliament (ASUP), led by the Speaker, Mr Kewul Abel, urged the lecturers to remember that they were also parents and must make sacrifices for the sake of the children.
“It is dangerous to leave our children at home at a critical time like this when the year is coming to an end and the nation is preparing for a national election.
“For the students, the temptation to run into evil political groups is very high. Desperate politicians could find them as good tools for their vices,” she said on Tuesday in Abuja.
Odusote spoke further: “It is in the national interest that the on-going industrial action embarked upon by ASUU be amicably resolved, through social dialogue, for our children to continue their educational pursuit.
“The lecturers must show a sense of understanding,” she said.
The Permanent Secretary, however, commended the ASUP for recognising her humble contribution to national development, and attributed her achievements to support by the ministry’s staff.
Earlier in his remarks, Abel had said that the union was in Abuja to confer a special award to the permanent secretary in recognition of her contributions to national development.
“It is due to your vivacious nature, which is fused with remarkable administrative acumen, that the students parliament decided to pay you a courtesy visit and present the Pan African Leadership Award to you,” he said.