President Muhammadu Buhari has asked the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and other trade unions to employ negotiations and shun strikes as a tool for pressing home their demands.
ASUU embarked on strike in February over the federal government’s failure to meet its demands.
The eight-month strike was later suspended following a court order in October.
According to NAN, Buhari spoke on Thursday at the 74th foundation day and convocation ceremony of the University of Ibadan (UI).
The president was represented by Abubakar Rasheed, the executive secretary of the National Universities Commission (NUC).
“There is a need for the trade unions, especially ASUU, to shun the weapon of strike as a tool for pressing home their demands,” he said.
“Strike only compounds the already poor state of our education sector, and erodes the national and international reputation of our public universities.”
Buhari also commended the efforts of the university administration in maintaining the impressive reputation upon which the institution was established.
He appreciated the leading role of the institution in postgraduate education and the production of “much needed” academic staff for tertiary institutions within and outside Nigeria.
Buhari said there is a need for discipline and stability in all universities which holds the key to the future of any nation.
The president said the disputes had dire consequences for the economy and unnecessary disruption of the academic calendar of universities.
The president urged the private sector to continue its support for the education sector, adding that the government cannot do it alone.
Also speaking, Sa’ad Abubakar, Sultan of Sokoto and UI chancellor, lamented the damage caused by the ASUU strike, saying “the worst hit are our children”.
Abubakar said there is a need to improve the standard of education in Nigeria through collective efforts.
In his remarks, John Odigie-Oyegun, UI pro-chancellor, urged all stakeholders in the education sector to ensure a crisis-free and uninterrupted academic calendar.