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ASUU/ASUP Strike: Fund education, students tell government

Nigerian students have called on the federal government to listen to the demands of the striking university lecturers and fund education, for the progress of the country.

This resolution was made at the weekend in Lagos, during a protest by a coalition of student groups from different campuses in Lagos State.

Speaking to The Nation, the national mobilization officer of the Education Rights Campaign (ERC), Wole Olubanji said that the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) are justified in their demands, going by the conditions in tertiary institutions today.

He said, “ASUU and ASUP are justified in their course. It is the federal government that has been reneging in their agreement with the body, and the agreements are still relevant today. We have universities without schools and laboratories, pointing to the fact that government have to fund education.

Asked if the demands made by the university lecturers are realistic, Olubanji said “When government was going to bail out the banks, was it realistic to spend as much as a trillion naira on bailing bankrupted institutions. But they did that because they had interest in their deposits saved in them. But we are talking about institutions that affect the general Nigerian masses”.

“Why should a government exist if it cannot benefit the citizens? Government should to use the resources of the country to advance its citizens, and it can be done by education.”

Olubaji noted that the Nigerian people are the real democracy the country enjoys, and they should be treated as such. “The ordinary Nigerian people are the real democracy in this country.  It is only a few people that are in the government, and opposition, majority of Nigerians are not involved, and this is because they are disappointed in what they have seen from the government.

The ERC mobilization officer also had a word for students who just want the strike to end immediately. “If we have a situation where Nigerian students are united to make a justified demand, we will achieve our aims fast, but some people are afraid and they want ASUU/ASUP to call off the strike, so that they can graduate, but from what realistic angle are they coming from in their argument?

ASUU had embarked on an indefinite strike since November 5th 2018, with sister body ASUP joining in 12th December 2018, over the non-implementation of the 2009 Federal Government/ASUU agreements and implementation of the 2013 and 2017 Memorandum of Understanding it signed with the union. The agreement between the Federal government and ASUP also remain unimplemented since 2016.

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