TUC, Shehu Sani, Sowore in solidarity with ASUU
Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) has backed the national protest by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) to force the Federal Government to meet demands of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
Condemning the continued disruption of academic calendar in public tertiary institutions and nonchalance of the political class to the development in a statement, yesterday, TUC president, Festus Osifo, claimed: “The clear ineptitude of the Buhari-led administration is becoming more worrisome, as there appears to be no end in sight, making the country a laughing stock among the comity of nations.”
He urged government to constructively engage ASUU with a view to finding a lasting solution to the crisis. Noting that education remains one of the factors that influence progress of any society, the TUC boss regretted that in Nigeria, it looks like “there is a deliberate effort to stifle the sector and keep the country perpetually under-developed.”
SIMILARLY, human rights activist, Shehu Sani, has lambasted the elite for denying Nigerian youths quality education. The ex-federal lawmaker, who made the submission, yesterday, in Abuja, at a protest to the National Assembly complex, backing the striking university-based unions, lamented that the influential class, which had quality and free education, has made children of the working class second-class citizens, while sending their wards abroad to get the very best of schooling.
He pledged that he would continue to identify with the labour movement in its bid to ensure the gates of universities are reopened.
The protesters converged on Unity Fountain as early as 8:30am. Led by NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, the demonstration also had presidential candidate of the African Action Congress (AAC), Omoyele Sowore, Country Representative of Actionaid Nigeria, Ene Obi, among others.
Ayuba reiterated Labour’s stance to embark on a warning strike that might snowball into a full-scale action if government fails to immediately resolve the ongoing strike in the university system and other tertiary institutions.
He berated the ruling class for spending about N1.6 trillion on education tourism, arguing that the amount was enough to revamp the sector.
The NLC boss decried that Nigerian university lecturers were the poorest paid in Africa, hence exodus of the nation’s best brains.
National President of the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnic (ASUP), Anderson Ezeibe, lamented that after a National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (NEEDS) assessment in 2014 by the government, it was recommended that N800 billion was required for revitalisation of polytechnics in the country.
He urged the National Assembly to ensure that those saddled with the responsibility of managing education live up to expectation.
President of National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), Sunday Asefon, observed that many promises had not been met by government.
In his remarks, Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, who was represented by Deputy Majority Leader, Robert Boroffice, assured the marchers that the legislature would ensure the issue is resolved.
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, represented by Mohammed Wudil, promised that relevant stakeholders would be assembled to address the problem.