The Federal Government is anxious about the distortion in school calendar as a result of the ongoing strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities saying that it is committed to the speedy resolution of the crisis for the sake of Nigerian students.
Minister of Information, Labaran Maku told state House correspondents at the end of Wednesday’s Federal Executive Council meeting that government was committed to “serious negotiations” with the university lecturers.
The Minister appealed to the students and parents to bear with government and show more understanding as efforts are being made to resolve the contending issues very soon.
“The Federal Government has been far more worried than you think concerning the strike in tertiary institutions, because of the disruption of the school calendar and so government is concerned and very worried and since the onset of the strike government has been negotiating with ASUU through the Ministry of Labour and Productivity and the Ministry of Education.
“As at today we know that these negotiations are going on and it is our expectation that this strike will not get more protracted and that an understanding will be reached soon enough to enable our students return back to school. Government is very worried and concerned every time the school calendar is disrupted, it has its cost to the nation, particularly the idle time our children spend at home can lead to a lot of social difficulties.
“We don’t want school calendars to be disrupted and a lot of series of discussions have been going on and we believe we should record some progress soon enough for these schools to open and the Minister of Labour and education will be giving quarter briefing on the progress of these negotiation and I know that it has never cease.
“So we are appealing to our people particularly parents and children of this nation to bear with us, to show more understanding and we pray that this type of strike will not re-occur, because the public school system suffers a lot of damage with the perennial strikes. The universities have been relatively stable since the advent of this Administration. The outraged strikes that we inherited we have tried to resolve them, and if you notice in the last two years there has not been a lot of strikes until this unfortunate one and I believe we will overcome it and in the end both parties will appreciate the need to keep the school calendar stable for the progress of our country. So government is working hard to ensure we reach an agreement to resolve this problem so that or schools can re-open” he said.
Meanwhile, the Federal Executive Council Wednesday approved a contract of N2.99 billion for the rehabilitation/construction of the Calabar-Ugep section of the Katsina-Ala/Ogoja/Ugep/Calabar road.
The earlier section of the road which is already 80 per cent complete, was awarded for N4.6 billion, thus bringing the total contract sum for the entire road to N7.5 billion
Minister of State for Works, Bashir Yuguda, explained that the contractor, Piccolo Brunelli, which handled the first phase, was asked to continue with the extension since it was already on site and had done a very good job.
Yuguda recalled that “the first phase of the project aimed at addressing the heavily distressed sections of the road while other sections not captured in the original contract scope of works would be addressed when funds became available.
“This is to ensure that government and the public get the full benefits of the investment made on the roads in terms of improvement of the level of service” he said.