A year after suspending a nine-month-old industrial action, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) says it would soon embark on an indefinite strike to reinforce its demands as it accuses the government of going back on their agreement.
To press home their demands, the Union had announced Monday, 7th of February, 2022, as a lecture-free day in universities across the country to inform the university communities and the public on the government’s failure to fulfill the agreement the parties entered into in December 2020, which led to the suspension of the then 9-month prolonged strike.
Given this development, the student wing of the TakeitBack Movement has issued a press statement decrying the proposed strike action by the union and the deadlock engagements between the federal government and ASUU.
Lamenting that students were the ones bearing the brunt, the Movement blamed the government for the pathetic state of education in the country and appealed to Nigerian students to support ASUU in its bid to salvage the education system from total collapse.
The press statement, dated February 7, 2022 with the headline “Proposed ASUU Strike: As Public Education Dies, We Must Rise”, signed by the National Coordinator of the student’s wing of the TakeitBack Movement, Damilare Adenola reads:
“Since 1999, Nigerian Universities have been on strike for a cumulative period of four years. If there is anything that has been constant about the Nigerian student’s academic calendar, it is the Academic Staff of University Union (ASUU) and the Federal government gripping each other’s throats over the funding of Nigerian Universities, better working conditions amidst other demands.
“Unsurprisingly, the student wing of the Take It Back Movement has again received the news of ASUU beginning mobilisation in a plan to embark on an indefinite strike, while kick-starting with a lecture-free day declaration for today 7th of February 2022. Whereas there are also indications that by February 14th the Union in the upper echelon will take the bold step in order to compel.
“Again, students of public institutions will be forced out of classes, deprived of their right to education as lecturers plan to put classrooms under locks and keys for the 16th time since 1999. However cruel and painful the proposed industrial action feels, it is important to pinpoint the real fountainhead of this unending menace facing public education in Nigeria today.
“Equipping public institutions with 21st-century facilities, employing enough lecturers to match the ratio of students and adequate payment of staff, Revitalization of the dying public education is ASUU’s chief demand and for which they have for decades been uncompromisingly pressing home.
“Providing free and quality education; instead of the Federal Government fulfilling the basic constitutional duty owed to Nigerian students, has further quickened the death of public education by underfunding the most crucial sector of any Nation desirous of peace and development. This year for instance, out of 16.39 trillion general budgetary allocations, N1.29 trillion, amounting to a paltry 7.9 per cent was allocated to education against the United Nations benchmark of 15-20 per cent.
“It is in thought with the above facts that we direct Nigerian students to own the struggle for the revitalization of education, spearheaded by ASUU. And in the spirit of solidarity rise up in protest against the deliberate act of the government to deprive children of the masses from accessing education.”