Strike: FG officials kept universities shut – ASUU

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has asked Nigerians to hold the Federal Government and some of its officials responsible for the continued closure of university campuses as a result of the nationwide strike.

The union recalled that five weeks ago, the President, Muhammadu Buhari, directed his Chief of Staff, Ministers of Education, Finance, Labour and Employment; and other relevant officials including the Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission (NUC) to meet with its leadership to discuss and find a durable solution to the problem but that wasn’t been done.

ASUU Vice President Prof Chris Piwuna told reporters on the sidelines of the maiden lecture of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) on the theme ‘Brain drain and medical tourism’, in Abuja on Monday, that the Federal Government has not shown interest in the reopening of the universities.

‘They directed the aforementioned officials to meet with our leadership but none of them showed interest. It was only the Minister of Labour and Employment, and the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Universities Commission (NUC) that have attended our meetings. Other people that were asked by the President to participate in the meeting to resolve the issues have not obeyed that directive,’ Prof Piwuna stated.

‘We have met with the Speaker of the House of Representatives thrice, same with the Senate President. We have met with Sultan of Sokoto, Chairman of Nigeria Governors’ Forum, Kayode Fayemi, on this matter but there’s has not been a permanent solution.

‘We have done everything within our power to resolve the issues but all our efforts have not yielded the needed results. But from all indications, the government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is the one keeping Nigerian students at home. Nigerians should rise and challenge the situation.’

He maintained that the fight is not for the welfare of ASUU members alone but for the entire university system that its standard has continued to nosedive.

‘For instance, there are over 30 professors in the Faculty of Education at the University of Jos, but only two of them have restrooms attached to their offices. Others are on their own. If there’s a restroom near any of the lecture halls, the stench won’t allow someone to be around there. The condition we found ourselves in the universities is terrible and inhumane.

‘We just ask the government to commit some funds for the revitalisation of the universities which the government has failed to do but we won’t give up. They would either give in to us or Nigerians would rise against them. You can’t fight insecurity when students are kept at home.’

He stated that the history of revitalisation was about N1.3 trillion, which was supposed to be released in five years, N220 billion each year, but the government failed to do that. ‘We wouldn’t have gone on strike if the government was doing their part of the game,’ he said.

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