The Socialist Workers and Youth League has slammed the Federal Government for failing to prioritize education funding, which has resulted in the Academic Staff Union of Universities’ strike action continuing.
ASUU has been on a nationwide strike since February 14, 2022, bringing the strike to 190 days today.
The organization stated in a statement signed on Tuesday by its National Chairperson and Secretary, Frances Akinjole and Kevinci Ayemhenre, that the reason for the prolonged strike was “the FG’s disregard for public education in Nigeria and contempt for collective agreements.”
“The ASUU strike action has now lasted more than 180 days,” the statement said. The only reason for this is the Federal Government’s disregard for public education in Nigeria, as well as its contempt for collective agreements.
“The concerns raised by ASUU are related to the need for adequate funding to revitalize tertiary institutions.” These include the demand for 26% of budgetary expenditure to be allocated to education.
“The lecturers have also stood firm against the Integrated Personnel and Payroll System, which contributes to illegal deductions from their pay, among other things.”
“Instead of addressing the issues raised and implementing the longstanding 2009 Collective Agreement or the renegotiated Collective Agreement in accordance with the subsequent Memorandum of Action, the government has resorted to blackmail.”
“They have attempted to reduce the grouse of lecturers to salaries, throwing the bone of a meager unilateral increase to bolster the government’s blackmail.”
“As if that weren’t enough, the government and its cheerleaders are raising the spectre of “no work, no pay,” which the government has no political or moral right to raise.”
The organization urged Nigerians, particularly young people, not to be duped by the government’s devious machinations, claiming that the issue was not a lack of resources to fund quality public tertiary education, as ASUU had demanded, but rather the priorities of Nigeria’s ruling class.
“It is critical to note that a society that does not prioritize education will face the ills and hassles of illiteracy, and by extension insecurity, banditry, terrorism, and all other vices,” it said.
The SWL also urged the government to immediately comply with ASUU’s demands.
“We also call for continued popular support for ASUU, which has consistently been at the forefront of the fight for education as a right rather than a privilege, as well as the fight for a better society.”
“At this time in our current political epoch, the people must rally around ASUU and call on the FG to prioritize education as the cornerstone for societal development, which is a fundamental right enshrined in our constitution.”
“As a result, SWL reiterates its solidarity with ASUU in its fight for the common good of all,” the statement concluded.
The last meeting of the striking lecturers with the FG ended in a deadlock; the union’s National Executive Committee will decide on the strike on Monday.