Posted by News Express | 17 March 2022 | 560 times
. . . Urges ASUU not to victimise students with provocative strikes
A civil rights advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has said for the recurring industrial actions by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to end once and for all, politicians and government officials must be banned from sending their children and wards for academic purpose of schooling in private institutions and in foreign jurisdictions.
HURIWA also described the quick resort to strike by ASUU as lazy and irrational, since the members of the union could as well adopt other proactive, constructive and elaborate alternatives to strikes such as publicising the schools and names of children of Nigerian public office holders schooling in Western Europe, Canada and the USA.
HURIWA suggested that ASUU could equally write protest letters to those schools informing them that parents of their students of Nigerian origin who are in charge of public affairs have sabotaged university education in Nigeria and have therefore decided to fund their children's academic activities from stolen public funds of Nigerians.
HURIWA, in a statement on Wednesday by its National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, emphasised that until the children of public officers have no educational alternative both at home and abroad, the perennial strike by public university lecturers won’t be earnestly resolved by those in power.
The group therefore advocated what it calls constructive blackmail of government officials by the ASUU as a possible strategy to compel the central government to honour the promises and agreements reached between government and the union.
The group lamented that the intermittent industrial actions embarked upon by aggrieved university lecturers due to government’s failure to meet certain agreements and conditions was inimical and counterproductive to the budging over 34 million youths.
HURIWA further said that for a country with over 40 million out-of-school children, prolonged stay out of tertiary institutions by youths would fill the crime pool of bandits, fraudsters, ritualists, armed robbers, prostitutes, amongst others.
It would be recalled that ASUU, on March 14, at the expiration of its four-week warning strike which it declared on Monday, February 14, 2022, extended the industrial action by two months.
The union, led by Professor Emmanuel Osodeke, said it made the decision to extend the strike so as to give the federal government and its agencies enough time to meet the lingering demands of the union.
The union had embarked on a nine-month strike in 2020 before it was called off in December of that year.
But ASUU said this week that the government had failed to satisfactorily address all the issues raised in the 2020 FGN/ASUU Memorandum of Action but the Minister of State for Education, Emeka Nwajiuba, insisted that the federal government had met all of ASUU’s demands, including funding for revitalisation of public universities (both federal and states), renegotiation of the 2009 FGN/ ASUU Agreement and the deployment of the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS).
Other demands of the union as listed by ASUU include Earned Academic Allowances, State Universities, promotion arrears, withheld salaries, and non-remittance of third-party deductions.
Reacting on the impasse so far, HURIWA declared: “The Federal Government which is saddled with the provision of quality education has failed woefully. It is more pathetic that government officials, including the two education ministers, have maintained indifference in meeting ASUU’s demand once and for all and not in piecemeal.
“To think that the present government has eight years to address the matter and it has failed to do so in the last seven years is unthinkable. The reason, however, is not farfetched; every now and then, politicians and government officials flaunt photos of the matriculation and the graduation ceremonies of the children in first-class universities abroad and a very few in private universities back home unaffected by the perennial industrial actions by ASUU and other unions in tertiary institutions. They do this to the chagrin of abandoned Nigerian students back home who are forced out of school and their stay of four or five years elongated to over seven years due to ASUU strikes.
“HURIWA posits that the National Assembly must be resolute and make laws banning politicians from sending their wards overseas for studies so that all hands can be on deck to resolve ASUU lingering crisis.
“Nigeria is sitting on a time bomb if ASUU strike is allowed to linger as there are connections between rising criminality and out-of-school students. The government must make hay while the sun shines. HURIWA has also warned that the strike would push thousands of students into such crimes like Yahoo Yahoo and to be available for active recruitment to carry out terrorism. The continuous closure of Public tertiary institutions is a grave threat to national security interests of Nigeria and must be brought to an end immediately.”
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