Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has apologized to Nigerian students and their parents for circulating photos of himself receiving lectures at Harvard University in the United States amid the lingering strike of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
On Tuesday, the Speaker posted a picture of himself in the classroom, studying for a leadership course at Harvard.
However, his tweet didn’t gather praises or compliments from the general public as he expected.
Gbajabiamila, in a tweet on Wednesday, said his post was not sensitive to the present feelings of fellow citizens especially students who are currently on strike due to the unresolved issues between the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and the Federal Government.
“Yesterday I posted a picture of myself at the @Harvard @Kennedy_School, undergoing a course. That post was not sensitive to the present feelings of fellow citizens, especially parents and students who are presently bearing the brunt of the ongoing closure of public universities …owing to the unresolved issues between the Academic Staff Union of Universities and the Federal Government of Nigeria.
“I apologize for the post at this time, and I hope you will understand that it was not my intention to cause disaffection. As Speaker of @HouseNGR, I have made multiple interventions within the powers of the legislature to avert the ongoing strike. I had direct engagements with ASUU… relevant government agencies,” his tweet read in part.
Academic activities in public universities have been suspended since February 14, 2022, leaving hundreds of thousands of students at home.
The union said successive Nigerian administrations failed to implement the agreements reached in 2009.
ASUU has demanded President Muhammadu Buhari adopt the Universities Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) for paying universities’ staff salaries instead of the Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System and the payment of academic earned allowance (EAA), among others.
On Tuesday, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) mobilized unions across the country protested in solidarity with ASUU, demanding that Buhari meet ASUU’s demands so students could return to school.