•‘No going back’ •NANS seeks resolution
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU)yesterday blamed President Goodluck Jonathan for the ongoing strike embarked upon by members of the union.
Speaking through the University of Ibadan (UI) chapter Chairman, Dr Segun Ajiboye in Ibadan, the union also insisted that it will not call off the strike until substantial part of the 2009 agreement are implemented.
The Federal Government reached an agreement with the union in 2009 over some grey areas including funding of education, allowances for lecturers and 70-year retirement age for professors.
Also yesterday, the UI chapter set up a 13-member committee to monitor compliance with the strike notice.
The committee, headed by Dr Mukaila Olujide has 13 other members.
The decision was reached at the ASUU congress of the chapter where lecturers called on the masses to rise against imminent collapse of the Nigerian state through mismanagement by political office holders.
Dr Ajiboye said though the strike is painful, it was necessary to check continuous decay and degradation of public infrastructure by the ruling class.
Ajiboye also added that ASUU was already networking with credible organisations outside the country to galvanise public opinion against the government.
“We are not going to suspend or call off this strike. It is total and comprehensive. I can assure you that we are not going back to the classes unless there is substantial implementation in the agreement by the Federal Government. We cannot allow a government that lacks credibility and integrity to continue to fool us. I tell you, it would be suicidal to suspend without implementation of the agreement and so we decided that we will not sit down and look but fight for the future of the country and that of our children,” he said.
Also yesterday, the Chairman of the ASUU at the Ignatius Ajuru (formerly Rivers State) University of Education (IAUOE), Port Harcourt, Dr. Ugochukwu Agi, said there is no going back on the strike.
The strike entered its second day yesterday, activities were paralysed at the three universities in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital.
The lecturers of the University of Port Harcourt (UNIPORT), the Rivers State University of Science and Technology (RSUST) and IAUOE are complying with the strike.
The “total, comprehensive and indefinite” strike, which started on Monday, was declared by the Prof. Ukachukwu Awuzie-led ASUU, over the non-implementation of the 2009 Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN)/ASUU agreement.
The classrooms of the three universities in Rivers State were empty yesterday. Some of the students in the hostels were seen returning home. Some were loitering about.
The UNIPORT’s Chairman , Dr. Kinikanwo Anele, described the level of compliance as total, while expressing optimism that the lecturers would continue to support the action.
The Chairman of ASUU at the RSUST, Dr. Felix Igwe, said; “Our members are complying and in agreement. No complaint. All our members are in support.
“The strike is in the nation’s interest and declared by the national leadership of ASUU. We are fully in support.”
Agi also described the compliance as total, while assuring that ASUU members at IAUOE would continue to obey the directive, which he said was to promote high quality education and meant to lay the foundation for the nation’s development.
IAUOE chairman of ASUU said: “We will not allow imperialists to cause confusion in the education system. Nigerian students deserve the best education, like their counterparts all over the world. We will insist that the right things be done by government.”
The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) has pleaded with the Federal Government and ASUU to resolve the dispute.
The students, according to a statement by its President, taken at the just-concluded 69th Senate meeting held on December 4 in Asaba, Delta State.
The Minister of Education, Prof. Ruqayyatu Ahmed Rufa’i urged the striking ASUU members to sheath their swords and call off the strike. She said the Federal Government is doing all within its power to resolve the issues.
The students, in the statement frowned at the manner the minister has handled education issues.
“We want to boldly assert that since her first coming as the Minister of Education, there has been no visible impact no matter how little in the education sector. Rather than using her position to reform the sector and address every pending issue such as the ASUU/FG agreement, she has preoccupied her ministry with irrelevant issues which are of no impact to the challenges of the Nigeria educational sector”.