ASUU Strike: Group Asks Buhari to Personally Take Over, Lead Negotiations

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A pressure group, the Save-Public-Education Campaign, has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to personally takeover and lead the negotiations with the striking Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).

According to the group, it is only the personal intervention of the president that is capable of quickly bringing solution and end the lingering deadlock.

In a statement on Monday, signed by Comrade Vivian Bello, Convener, and Comrade Dimeji Macaulay, Co-Convener, the Save-Public-Education Campaign said it is deeply saddened by the prolonged strike, especially in view of what it described as the “lackadaisical attitude and body language of the relevant authorities concerned in this matter.”

The said it is alarmed by the negative resort to divide the union where a section of the academia is paid leaving out a broad section of the lecturers.

“We are also alarmed by the negative resort to a divide and rule tactic by the government negotiators on this strike, whereby they are singling out medical lecturers alone for payment of salaries instead of broadly and comprehensively attending to the salary and other key issues the striking academics have raised.

“We hold this as a false strategy as it is counter-productive and will only lead to further prolongation of the quagmire; Universities and Tertiary institutions are organic structural habitats and academic medics do not and cannot function in it, in isolation.

“We want to make it clear that it is illegal for government to stop the salaries of striking Tertiary Institutions’ Unions. It is not allowed under the Nigerian Labour Laws and we strongly charge government to end this illegality.

The Save-Public-Education Campaign is further deeply worried and concerned at the impact the strike is having on the nation, particularly its young population, who have largely come under its toll with many of this population now given to one negative social vice or another arising largely from the idleness and frustrations occasioned by the ASUU strike. This further puts virtually all sectors of the nation, including particularly in the area of security under even greater burden and risk,” stated the group in its statement.

The full statement, entitled “President Buhari Should Take Over ASUU Negotiation Now,” reads:

“Recall that on June 27, the Save Public Education Campaign addressed the Press on the lingering ASUU strike and related matters in the Education sector. It also made clear, that it was monitoring the situation as regards outcome of meetings and negotiations between the federal government and the striking academic Unions.

“Feedbacks and results of our monitoring in the regard show that up till now, nothing has been done to end the deadlock and so, the Education sector crisis continue to linger with no end in sight particularly for the strike.

“The Save-Public-Education Campaign is deeply saddened by this situation, and moreso, the lackadaisical attitude and body language of the relevant authorities concerned in this matter.

“We are also alarmed by the negative resort to a divide and rule tactic by the government negotiators on this strike, whereby they are singling out medical lecturers alone for payment of salaries instead of broadly and comprehensively attending to the salary and other key issues the striking academics have raised.

“We hold this as a false strategy as it is counter-productive and will only lead to further prolongation of the quagmire; Universities and Tertiary institutions are organic structural habitats and academic medics do not and cannot function in it, in isolation. We want to make it clear that it is illegal for government to stop the salaries of striking Tertiary Institutions’ Unions.  It is not allowed under the Nigerian Labour Laws and we strongly charge government to end this illegality.

The Save-Public-Education Campaign is further deeply worried and concerned at the impact the strike is having on the nation, particularly its young population, who have largely come under its toll with many of this population now given to one negative social vice or another arising largely from the idleness and frustrations occasioned by the ASUU strike. This further puts virtually all sectors of the nation, including particularly in the area of security under even greater burden and risk.

“We are therefore of the considered opinion, that it was time the ASUU strike be attended to at the highest level, the President Muhammadu Buhari should therefore personally takeover and lead the negotiations with the striking lecturers. We believe this will quickly bring solution and end the lingering deadlock.

“Taking all the foregoing into cognizance and without prejudice to the call for the President to take over the ASUU strike negotiation however, we believe it is time to embark on nationwide mass protest to impress it on the Nigerian government the need to have our students resume school, which will only be possible if government shifts ground and meets key ASUU’s demands. Already, the Union has announced its willingness to call off the strike immediately this happens. We strongly therefore enjoin the country’s two national Labour Congresses; the Nigeria Labour Congress NLC, and the Trade Union Congress, TUC, to follow through with its pronouncement on Day of Mass Action to solidarize with ASUU.

“And while we salute the courage of some students and students’ bodies in the Country, including of the University of Benin, the Obafemi Awolowo University Ile Ife, the Coalition of Northern Groups Student, Jalingo amongst others, we urge all Nigerians and students across the country including particularly the National Association of Nigerian Students, NANS, to get ready and join the struggle against the trampling of Nigerians’ Right to Education.

The Save-Public-Education Campaign shall shortly announce the day for the commencement of Mass Action in the regard.”

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