President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan on Monday waded into the disputes between the Academic Staff Union of Universities(ASUU) and the Federal Government over the enrollment on the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System(IPPIS) and other outstanding issues.
Lawan met with a delegation from ASUU led by its President, Professor Biodun Ogunyemi at the National Assembly to discuss the lingering crisis which has made it impossible for some Universities to reopen after the COVID-19 lockdown.
ASUU leaders paid similar visit to the Senate President in October 2019 to find a way out of the crisis.
In his opening remarks, the Senate President said the meeting was to explore further how the Senate and indeed the National Assembly could intervene to resolve the issues that were yet outstanding.
Lawan told his guests: “We really don’t need this kind of situation where our Universities are shut. Our children are the victims of this.
“Therefore, the government and ASUU ought to find a common ground for our institutions, particularly our Universities to open and of course, offer the kind of services that are expected of our Universities.
“We cannot afford, as a country, to continue to have this kind of crisis. So I receive you on behalf of my colleagues at the Senate and indeed the National Assembly. The idea is to find out how we can resolve this issue.”
The Senate President said even though there were yet many outstanding issues, the parties should imbibe the spirit of give and take in resolving the dispute.
“Government cannot expect to have it all it’s way and I believe that ASUU shouldn’t expect it to be that everything it asked for must be given.
“Our situation today is something that everyone knows what it is. It’s a very stressful economic situation and I believe that government is supposed to even, within this kind of situation, play its own part. It’s obligations must be redeemed within the confine of what we can do.
“But ASUU too, I know, is prepared to meet government halfway somehow because I’m sure we have joint determination to resolve these issues.
“The National Assembly is the best place to go. On one hand we are in government. On another hand, we represent the people. We represent you. We represent the families and the children who are at home because the Universities are shut.
“And I think as Parliamentarians, we have to tell the truth as it is, no matter how bitter it may be at the right place and at the right time.
“When we signed agreement, we must do so with full intention of implementing it. And when we negotiate, we must negotiate in such a manner that the final product is implementable.
“This is to say that we have to accommodate each other. The country must ensure that Universities remain open and functioning because it doesn’t serve anybody any good when the Universities are shut,” Lawan said.
Also in his opening statement, ASUU President, Professor Ogunyemi said the visit was in furtherance of previous interraction with the Senate President.
“Today we hope to share with you as you requested the last time we were here, the product of our invention in the area of alternative to IPPIS.
“We are also here to solicit your support on the need for the government to urgently address the outstanding issues on our demand list. We are here for those two main reasons and we hope we will have the supportive weight that we expect from your office,” Ogunyemi said.