Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, has raised the alarm that the ongoing nationwide strike embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union of Universities will disenfranchise majority of Nigerian youths who are students if not called off.
The students, he said, made up 52 per cent of registered voters in the country.
According to him, many of them would be stranded at home and not be able to go to their schools to vote where they had registered ahead of the coming election.
He therefore called on the Federal Government to immediately end the strike which has entered its 62nd day.
In a statement signed by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, Saraki emphasised too that the education of Nigeria’s young people was being negatively affected by the stance of the government.
“In November 2016, the Senate intervened in the ASUU strike and met with the officials of the Ministries of Education and Labour, Employment and Productivity and the Academic Staff Union of Universities.
“At that meeting, which was attended by the Minister of State for Education Anthony Anwuka and Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Labour and Productivity in the National Assembly, we agreed that the Federal Government should work to implement the agreement that it reached with ASUU in 2009, and subsequently, we set up a sub-committee to lease with both ASUU and the Federal Government on this issue.
“The Federal Government must immediately work to address the demands of the Academic Staff Union of Universities ( ASUU), because this issue goes beyond negotiations. It is affecting the education of Nigeria’s students, and disenfranchising many of them from participating in the upcoming general elections.
“Make no mistake, we cannot continue this system whereby our universities will be frequently shut down, thereby slowing down the education of our young people — and creating negative bottlenecks that place unnecessary stress on our universities.
“In another vein, our youth make up over 51 per cent of registered voters. What does this mean for our electoral process, when young students who are registered to vote in their academic institutions, cannot do so because their schools are shut down? This is unacceptable.
“In this regard, I call on the Federal Government to immediately work on meeting the demands of ASUU and honouring all its prior commitments. On our part, the Senate will continue to work to ensure that Nigeria’s education sector is strengthened — and we are ready and willing to collaborate with both the Federal Government and ASUU to end this strike, and ensure that it does not become a recurrent issue,” Saraki stated.