UNIVERSITIES STUDENTS UNION PRESIDENTS PRESS CONFERENCE
- Dear Nigerians, indeed, the tussle between the Federal Government and Academic Staff of
Union Universities (ASUU) has truncated the academic sojourns of many Nigerian Students. With the way the situation is being handled, education appears to be of less importance to the government and this has put academic activities of several public Nigerian institutions in jeopardy. Access to quality education by the middle class and poor families in Nigeria is now almost impossible.
- Thus, this Press Conference is predicated on the nonchalant approach of the government on the educational sector.
- On Monday, March 23rd 2020, the Academic Staff of Union Universities embarked on a nationwide warning strike which eventually turned out to be an indefinite strike without the hope of bringing it to an end soon.
- As if disrupting academic activities is not enough, the strike action has also posed a threat to the livelihood of students that do business in students’ environment. Ultimately, their wellbeing is equally affected. And as responsive Students Union leaders, silence is not an option for us at this time.
- It is very unfortunate that over a decade, industrial actions have been the norm from time to time. Nigerian Students cannot longer enjoy quality education; we cannot conveniently acquire our certificates within its stipulated years.
- We have waited. We have hoped. But then, this is the 8th month and there seems to be no breakthrough in sight. Several engagements between the Federal Government and Academic Staff of Union Universities since the inception of the strike has always been resulting in a deadlock.
- It is on that note that we are making our positions and demands to the Federal Government of Nigeria very clear and explicit. The following are our demands:
I. IMMEDIATE END TO THE INCESSANT ASUU STRIKE: We, the great Students’ of the Federation hereby request for an end to the ongoing strike action by the Academic Staff Union of Universities. The struggle of ASUU should never be undermined as we all truly know, a revitalization and improvement in the quality of infrastructures and regulation of payment of salaries is direly needed.
In spite of this, we urgently call for a compromise to be reached by both parties. The future of students is at stake. Some have lost faith in the education in this country and it is a great slap on the face of the nation. Not every parent or guardian can afford to send their children to Private Universities. Even some Missionary Universities that should offer respite are so expensive that some of their members can’t even afford the tuition. Believe us when we say that a lot is at stake here. An Igbo adage says, “Does a person whose house is currently burning chase rats around the house?” This rat hunt has been on for too long and
ENOUGH is ENOUGH!
II. ADEQUATE FUNDING OF THE EDUCATIONAL SECTOR: The lack of funds in our institution is one of the major challenges affecting our federal institutions. It is no news that financial burdens are always on the increase but the priority given to the educational sector is extremely low. According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), it is recommended that developing nations should allocate 15-20% of their national budget to education. However, in Nigeria, the budgetary allocation for education for the last five years has been less than 10%.
Among others, the Nigeria universities system have been faced with poor educational infrastructures, inadequate classrooms, teaching aids (projectors, Computers, Laboratories and libraries), paucity of quality teachers and poor / polluted learning environment.
These undermine access to quality education in a country that prides herself as the Giant of Africa. In the light of this, we the student union president demand a prioritization of the educational sector in the budgeting of Nigeria finance and the monitoring and implementations of these allocation.
III. PRIORITIZING THE EDUCATIONAL AS KEY TO SUSTAINABLE GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT: Students across the globe are benefactors of favourable government policies which even act as incentives for students to study and in turn, add value to the economy. The need for students welfarism to be rated “top priority”
In the Nation’s to-do list can no longer be ignored. We therefore urge our government to look deeply into this, and form a Committee, comprising all Student Union Leaders across the Federation, and representatives of the government.
- On a final note, the future of our nation depends largely in quality education. If we must progress and see a better Nigeria, then we must be progressive and be better in words and actions. Ending ASUU strike by giving utmost consideration to our demands is key and a way to kickstart. Do this and secure the future of our beloved nation.