As striking members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) suspend their eight-month-old strike action on Friday, the Speaker of the Bauchi State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Abubakar Suleiman, has met with the Bauchi State University chapter of the Union in a bid to resolve and halt the planned internal industrial action in the State-owned University.
In an apparent move to avert another industrial crisis, Suleiman, who held a meeting with the striking lecturers for hours in his office, noted that the strike embarked upon by the national body of the Union was regrettable and a concern to the State Assembly members even as he called for restraints over planned internal
strike by the Bauchi State University Gadau’s branch of the Union immediately after the end of national strike.
According to him, as representatives of the people, they were worried on how University students in the State were kept at home for eight months due to the strike, which brought a lot of setbacks to the students and their parents, hence the reason for convening the meeting.
He said, “The Assembly has during one of its plenary sittings made resolution on the need for the State Government to intervene on the lingering strike in the State University, sit with ASUU and the University Management to find lasting solutions to the problems affecting the University, so that the school will reopen and students return for their studies.
“While waiting to see the implementation of the resolution, we read in a press release issued by the Union that even when the nationwide strike is called off, it is planning to embark on internal strike. This is disturbing. Thus, we find it necessary to convene this very important meeting with the leadership of the Union, the Vice Chancellor and the representatives of the Ministry of Education, with a view to finding lasting solutions to the problems bedeviling the University,” the Speaker said.
He explained that the meeting was fruitful as they ironed out the major problems affecting the State University such as lack of adequate funding, delay in payment of salaries, earned academic allowances, among others and suggested the way out.
The number one lawmaker in the State identified inadequate funding as the problem of the University since inception. He, however, assured the Union that the governor of Bauchi State, Senator Bala Abdulkadir Mohammad, was very committed to solving all problems affecting education in the State including that of the State University.
He also pledged that the State Assembly will discuss the outcome of the meeting especially the issue of funding and creation of Ministry of Higher Education for easy handling of higher education matters in the State, earned academic allowances and other issues affecting the University.
He said the State Assembly will sustain the harmonious relationship with the Executive arm to ensure that the problems are solved and that the current and impending strikes are averted, so that academic activities will resume immediately.
The Speaker, who commended the ASUU and the Management of the State University for their patriotism, expressed the appreciation of the State House of Assembly to the Union for honouring its invitation.
In his remarks, the branch chairman of ASUU, Malam Yusuf Musa Yahaya, commended the Speaker for the intervention which he said was a testimony of his concern for the plight of the students and the lecturers and zeal to finding lasting solution.
He stated that the efforts made by the Speaker of the Federal House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, had yielded positive results toward ending the national strike, thus they were happy that the Speaker of the Bauchi Assembly followed suit by intervening on the lingering issues at the State University.
Malam Yahaya mentioned some of the demands of the Union which include full implementation of funding modality of the University, the State Government should not allow the University at the mercy of TETFund and embark on construction of hostels, staff quarters, cafeterias, road network, staff development and funding of research and payment of earned academic allowances.
The ASUU chairman explained that the State University was established by an Act of the State Assembly and the funding modality is therein clearly defined, hence the need for the Assembly to ensure that the law it passed is fully implemented.
He assured that with the intervention of the State House of Assembly, the Union will have no reason to embark on internal strike if it sees improvement toward the implementation of the resolutions of the meeting.
The meeting was attended by leadership ofASUU, Bauchi State University Branch; Vice Chancellor of the University, Professor Auwalu Uba; chairman, House Committee on Education, Hon. Babayo Muhammad; Permanent Secretary, Bauchi State Ministry of Education; Director, Higher Education, State Ministry of Education, and members of the House Committee on Education.