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FG can end varsity teachers’ strike in 24 hours, says TUC

By Azimazi Momoh Jimoh and Collins Olayinka, Abuja
13 August 2022   |   4:03 am
The Federal Government (FG) can end the ongoing strike in the universities but the government’s priorities lay elsewhere, President of Trade Union Congress (TUC), Festus Osifo, said yesterday in Abuja.

Festus Osifo

Rejects Privatisation Of Hospitals, TCN As Atiku Decries Endless Strike
The Federal Government (FG) can end the ongoing strike in the universities but the government’s priorities lay elsewhere, President of Trade Union Congress (TUC), Festus Osifo, said yesterday in Abuja.
     
The TUC President, who stated this at the end of the National Executive Council (NEC) of the Labour Centre, explained that the argument of lack of resources to meet the demands of the university-based unions was misplaced.
      
The TUC President noted that expending over N6 trillion on fuel subsidy was a misplacement of priority, which indicates that the Federal Government does not place any premium on human capital development.
       


He said, “If the government wants to end this strike in 24 hours, they will do it, but as we know, their priorities are not to develop the human capital that is needed to put Nigeria on the path of economic growth. We call on the government to sit down with Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and resolve the crisis rocking university education in Nigeria.

“Building roads and infrastructure is good but the development of the human resource is very critical. The government should end this strike immediately. How much is the government spending on PMS subsidy? We subsidise the entire West African sub-region. Let the government police the borders to curb PMS smuggling. That money will be enough to restore sanity in the education system,” he explained.
  
Osifo also expressed the opposition of the Centre to the planned privatisation of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) as well as government-owned hospitals, saying the actions would not yield positive fruits.
     
“We should ask ourselves if the power sector they privatised has led to improvement in power in our homes. We will communicate our opposition to this move. Also, we are opposed to the planned privatisation of some hospitals owned hospitals because such a move would not allow ordinary Nigerians to access quality medical care.”

Commenting on the exchange rate in the country and how it’s denying the manufacturing sector access to foreign exchange to import raw materials, Osifo berated the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for leading the country in the wrong direction.
    
On labour law, he stressed that the TUC would follow the process to ensure that the law that would be passed is law that would protect the interests of the working class.
   
The Centre confirmed the appointment of Nuhu Toro, as substantive Secretary-General, while Anka Hassan, is now the Deputy Secretary General of TUC.
    
He also declared that the state of insecurity in the country is a concern, saying, insecurity is everywhere in the country. “We call on the President to act swiftly. We cannot be doing the same thing and expect a different result. All the money spent on security appears to be wasted because we cannot see the result of the huge spending.”
    
Though TUC is focused on building a strong and respected labour Centre, Osifo highlighted that the aim was not to rival the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) but form a working relationship with the Centre in its bid to protect the interests of the Nigerian working class.

Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, has expressed displeasure over the inability of the Buhari-led administration to resolve the crisis with the ASUU.

He lamented that the prolonged strike was causing serious damage to the development and training of youths in the country.

Atiku, who spoke at the commemoration of the International Youth Day celebration organised by the PDP youth wing in Abuja, noted that the most important and fundamental rights of any youth is the right to education.

Atiku said: “It will never happen under a PDP government or under my administration when I am elected. Do you know why I say that? I have been investing in education for the past 30 years. In nursery, I started primary, secondary and university. We have never gone on strike for even one day.

“So, if I, Atiku Abubakar, can establish nursery, primary, secondary school and university and yet no strike for one day, why should we have strike by university teachers? I want to pledge that I will work with university authorities and government to make sure we end this incessant strike by ASUU.”

According to Atiku, the fundamental right of every youth or every citizen is to be educated; hence, it is the responsibility of any responsible government to make sure that right is given to every Nigerian and every youth in this country.