The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has apologised for posting pictures of his course attendance at the Harvard Kennedy School.
Many Nigerians criticised the pictures for being insensitive at a time when public universities across the countries have been closed for several months due to striking academics demanding better welfare.
Mr Gbajabiamila, in a series of tweets on Wednesday, acknowledged that the photos had been insensitive but defended his committment to quality education in Nigeria.
“Yesterday I posted a picture of myself at the Harvard Kennedy School, undergoing a course,” he said.
“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 the House of Representatives, I have made multiple interventions within the powers of the legislature to avert the ongoing strike. I had direct engagements with ASUU and relevant government agencies.
“The House of Representatives is still keenly involved in seeking a resolution to the issues so our students can return to school. We all await the outcome of the 2-week ultimatum given for the conclusion of negotiations with ASUU.
“I have long been a champion of public education in Nigeria, and I have consistently advocated programs, policies, and investments to improve the quality of public education in the country. In my constituency and beyond, I have attracted a new international student hostel in UNILAG.
“I facilitated access to free internet WiFi in ALL public tertiary institutions in Lagos State; provision of modern ICT centres in 24 secondary schools across the state, provision of scholarships and grants to indigent students in selected tertiary institutions, provision of laptops to ALL secondary school teachers in my constituency and hundreds of students, facilitated the renovation of over 15 public schools in Lagos.
“I facilitated the ongoing construction of the Open University Campus and JAMB CBT Centre in my constituency, facilitated the ongoing construction of School Auditoriums in both LASU and School of Legal Studies, Katsina; facilitated the construction of a public library in Ondo;
“I facilitated the ongoing construction of an emergency care centre for the University of Lagos Teaching Hospital amongst other numerous interventions. In keeping with my passion for education.
“I regularly take time to teach in some public secondary schools across the country and will continue to work within the remit of the legislature to provide our young people with access to quality education.”