ASUU Strike: Catholic Bishops Offer To Mediate •New PDP Tells Nigerians To Fast

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Catholic bishops in Nigeria have offered to mediate in the face-off between the Federal Government and the striking members of the Academic Staff Union of Nigerian Universities.

The clerics in a communique signed by the President and Secretary, Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria, Most. Rev. Ignatius Kaigama and Most. Rev. William Avenya, respectively after their second plenary (between September 5 and 13) at Otukpo, Benue State, expressed worries over the prolonged strike.

The communique, made available to journalists in Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State, by the Bishop of Ekiti Diocese, Most Rev. Felix Ajakaye, partly read, “We appeal to the Federal Government and ASUU to take the higher ground of mutual exchange and shifting of grounds for the collective responsibility of saving the university education and getting our youths back to the classroom.

“We, the Catholic bishops, willingly offer ourselves as a conference to mediate in order to bring this deadlock to an end and usher in a harmonious, viable and sustainable environment for university learning.”

Meanwhile, a faction of the Peoples Democratic Party being led by Alhaji Kawu Baraje, has requested all members of the party globally to embark on seven days fasting and prayers, commencing from Monday(today) to quicken the resolution of the crisis between the Federal Government and university lecturers in the country.

The faction said this spiritual intervention was as a result of its concern for the plight of parents and students in the universities.

A statement signed by the National Publicity Secretary of the faction, Chief Chukwuemeka Eze, on Sunday, said Muslims all over the nation and abroad who are PDP members should end their fasting by Friday at their places of worship while the Christians should end theirs next Sunday.

Eze added that the fasting had become imperative to seek the face of God over this matter, saying all efforts to resolve what he described as unwarranted strike had failed woefully.

Apart from this, he added that the strike was causing serious socio-economic damage to parents and their children.

The statement read, “To say the least, we are shocked that the government that is inflicting this monumental hardship on Nigerians is a PDP government popularly elected by majority of Nigerians and run by a President who was once a university lecturer.

“In this regard, we wish to plead with Nigerians for forgiveness on behalf of the PDP government at the centre, which could have avoided this costly strike.

“We wish to assure all Nigerians that as a party we will surely find a way to end this shameful situation.”

Eze added that the Baraje faction had set up a four-man committee with Governor Babangida Aliyu of Niger State as Chairman, to advise the party on the best way to get the Federal Government’s Negotiating Committee and the leadership of ASUU to reach an agreement on the issues at stake and thus end the three-month-old strike.

Other members of the committee are Governor Murtala Nyako of Adamawa State; President of UNIPORT Alumni, Mr. Chinwo Ike; and the PDP National Youth Leader, Mr. Timi Frank.

He regretted that some students, out of frustration and boredom, had turned into prostitution and armed robbery.

He said, “We sincerely solicit the patience of Nigerians while appealing to both the Federal Government and the leadership of ASUU to end this imbroglio so that our children may go back to school instead of engaging in acts inimical to their future.”

The National Chairman of the Labour Party, Chief Dan Nwanyanwu, also said there was no need for the Federal Government and ASUU to run away from the negotiating table.
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