President Muhammadu Buhari has begs the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to end its strike in the sake of students.
The President made the call Thursday during the 19th National Productivity Day and the presentation of the National Productivity Order of Merit Award (NPOM) to 48 eminent Nigerians and organisations from both the public and private sectors for their high levels of productivity, dedication, and excellence.
President Buhari, who encouraged ASUU to respect the condition of students, also urged students in public higher education institutions to be patient.
According to him, the government has continued its efforts to address the persistent problems in the nation’s university system within the scope of its available resources.
In a statement released by his spokesman Femi Adesina, the President recalled that he had earlier directed the Chief of Staff, Hon. Ministers of Labour and Employment, Education, Finance, Budget and National Planning to immediately bring all parties to the negotiating table to again critically examine the grey areas in the demands of ASUU and in fact all other University-based labour unions.
In his address on the theme of this year’s commemoration, ‘Achieving Higher Productivity through an Improved Education System,’ Buhari pledged that the Federal Government will continue to do everything necessary to improve the educational system in the country.
He stated that his administration acknowledged the importance of a nation’s educational system to its future.
“Therefore, if we wish to develop Nigeria into a competitive, robust, dynamic, productive, and sustainable economy, enhancing our educational system should be our top priority.”
The President stated that it would be challenging to improve our economic performance and overall productivity without enhancing our educational system.
According to him, “Government recognises the emergency situation in our educational system, with a focus on the lack of competent and committed teachers to improve the quality of teaching and learning at all levels of our educational system.”
To address these issues, President Buhari stated that his administration has increased the retirement age for teachers from 60 to 65 years, while increasing the number of years of service from 35 to 40 in an effort to attract more graduates into the teaching profession.
The President stated that the government had also approved a special salary scale for teachers in primary and secondary schools, which included provisions for rural posting allowance, science teacher allowance, and peculiar allowance, while giving priority to timely promotion and prompt salary payment.
In his remarks, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, stated that 382 individuals and 97 organisations had been awarded the NPOM since the award’s inception in 1991.
Dr. Stella Adadevoh and Mr. Babatunde Lawal were honoured posthumously during the 2019/2020 National Productivity Day.
Dr. Adadevoh, who passed away on August 19, 2014, was recognised for her remarkable performance in the fight against the spread of the Ebola virus in the country, while Lawal, who died on November 6, 2020, served as Permanent Secretary in the Cabinet Affairs Office.
During his stint as permanent secretary in the Federal Civil Service, Babatunde, a trained economist with a focus on fiscal policy analysis, management, and strategic planning, was praised for his “attention to detail and meticulousness.”
Other recipients include the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Abdullahi Adamu; the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha; the immediate past Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr. Chike Ihekweazu; the Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi; the Chairman and Founder of the BUA Group, Abdusamad Rabiu; the Chairman of Globacom, Mike