We’ll defend Nigeria’s corporate entity by all means ― Buhari

• Begs ASUU to call off strike

President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday in Ibadan, Oyo State capital restated that his administration would defend the Nigeria’s corporate entity with all means, contending that the unity and indivisibility of Nigeria cannot be negotiated.

He also pleaded with the members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to call off their eight months old industrial action in order to save tertiary education in the country.

Speaking at the 72nd Foundation Day and convocation ceremonies of the University of Ibadan (UI), which was held at the International Conference Centre of the institution, Buhari who was represented by the Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission (NUC), Mr Abubakar Rasheed expressed FG’s readiness to sanction anybody found violating the processes of selecting Vice-Chancellors of federal universities.

Four prominent Nigerians, who were conferred with honourary doctorate degrees at the ceremonies include General Theophilus Danjuma (rtd) (Doctor of Letters), Dr. Layiwola Fatona (Doctor of Science), Chief (Mrs.) Comfort Idowu (Doctor of Science) and Mr. John Coumantaros (Doctor of Letters).

Buhari who is the visitor to the university maintained that his government was determined to pay utmost attention to security, stressing that corruption, nepotism, kidnapping and other social vices plaguing the country.

According to him, “I want to assure you of the government’s determination to continue to pay utmost attention to the issue of security. It is the collective commitment of this administration to ensure that we have a society that will guarantee peace, stability and opportunity for people of different categories and that Nigerians are given the opportunity to excel in their chosen endeavours.

“Hence, our unrelenting and determined efforts to eradicate corruption, nepotism, kidnapping and other social vices that are threatening to cripple and bedevil this nation. We shall not relent in this war against these evils and with God on our side, we shall prevail.

“Let me say, clearly, that the corporate existence of Nigeria is not negotiable. Hence, efforts would be made to protect our dear country, as a single entity. All divisions, conflicts and violent clashes should be unanimously condemned. We must embrace the sanctity of human life and peaceful co-existence. It is only in an atmosphere of peace that our developmental potential can fully blossom,” Buhari remarked.

He, however, implored members of ASUU to return to the classrooms, noting that “the year 2020 has also witnessed a prolonged disruption of the academic calendar of public universities, as a result of strikes by university-based unions particularly members of the academic staff union. We recognize the rights of workers to express their grievances, through lawful actions , including strikes.

“However, there is a reciprocal obligation on the part of workers and unions to ensure the survival and sustainability of their places of employment. Strike action tends to compound the problems in the education sector. The current strike by university teachers has gone on for too long and caused enough devastation in the lives of students and the universities alike.

“I urge university teachers to return to their classrooms and seek further accommodation with government, from the productive ambience of their campuses.

“Let me add that government is particularly worried about the avalanche of petitions, many bordering on serious allegations of bribery and corruption as well as disrespect for due process, in the course of selecting new Vice-Chancellor in some of our federal universities.

“Government has set in motion several mechanisms to monitor the selection process with a view to taking appropriate measures to ensure that the processes are conducted in open, fair and transparent manner and that all violators are properly sanctioned,” he added.

The Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Council, University of Ibadan, Nde Joshua Waklek tasked the institution should continue to invest in human capital to achieve its great height of influence on the gown-and-town relationship.

In his remark, the Vice-Chancellor of the university, Professor Idowu Olayinka urged Buhari to give the university special priority attention in form of special reconstruction and rehabilitation funds.

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