For some uninterrupted years, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) had had one grouse or another with the Federal Government over many issues bordering on ASUU’s welfare and emoluments. On each occasion, the FG and the lecturers had reached many agreements in writing with the government promising to do the needful, but on each occasion, the government had always reneged on its signed agreements which had resulted in the university system losing much grounds in terms of quality teaching in all the schools.
Needless to say that the students are the ones bearing the brunt of this painful situation. Over the years, the government had been known to not complying with the UNESCO injunction that governments worldwide should allocate an infinitesimal percentage of their budgets to the education sector, the Federal Government of Nigeria had been the chief culprit of this directive; what it allocates to education is ridiculously intolerant yearly.
Little wonder, the ASUU had complained ceaselessly and vainly about the decrepit state of universities nationwide apart from their own neglected welfare. The ASUU had gone on strike for God knows how many months in the last ten years with government’s nonchalance on each occasion.
The strike assumed an arrowhead penultimate week when the ASUU began yet another unfortunate industrial action this time over the government’s lackadaisical attitude and bare-faced unwillingness to pay them the over N100 billion owed them after an agreement in 2007 reached by both parties.
Expectedly, the lecturers immediately hearkened to their union’s clarion call. As at last fortwight, a majority of the universities in the nation had joined the fray thus starting another round of needless holidays for the students and losing quality time to cover some grounds in their studies.
Another dimension to this unfortunate issue is that ASUU had said the strike would continue indefinitely without break.
If the Federal Government had begun payment of what it owed ASUU over the years by installment, what would had been left would not justify ASUU’s action, but indeed, it adopted an inhuman and carefree attitude to the plight of the lecturers, students and the sector in particular.
The government’s brazen and lawless attitude to the plight of ASUU in this regard by any standard could not stand the test of time judging by the humongous salaries and emoluments of sleeping legislators, not to talk of the nation’s commonwealth being shared by thieving politicians and ministers past and present .
Nigerians had been saying that the amount allegedly stolen by ex-minister of Petroleum, Diezani Alison-Madueke was enough to build some refineries and other infrastructure in the country. If the will is there, we ask what is N200 million to the Federal Government which it cannot ‘dash’ ASUU compared with the huge amount of public money politicians, ministers in high positions had earned in recent times.
The Federal Government should stop grandstanding on this issue that affects the whole country as it has no plausible explanation for non-payment of the money owed the ASUU. It should pay the money soonest, no more excuse.
We are aware that the reason the Federal Government is dilly-dallying with ASUU issue is that their children are studying overseas and so could care less on what happens to children from poor families. This mindset should be changed because God created humans equally and therefore no one should discriminate against one another, we therefore appeal to the Federal Government to as a matter of priority solve this issue once and for all. Enough is enough.