The Trade Union Congress (TUC) has called on the Federal Government to put a quick end to the ongoing industrial action embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
The TUC, in a statement signed by its President, Bobboi Bala Kaigama, and Secretary General Musa Lawal M. Ozigi, urged the government to dialogue with the lecturers “to avoid more damage on the overstretched economy and the insecurity challenge in the country.”
The university teachers began the strike on Sunday to press home their demand that the government honour its agreement with them in 2009 and 2013.
The TUC declared that it is “worried that an agreement that was entered into in 2009 is still foot dragging eight years after,” adding: “The union was even magnanimous enough to even signed another Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in 2013 wherein the issues at stake were duly interrogated.”
The umbrella association of senior workers stated further: “On our part, we have examined the issues raised by the lecturers and did not find them wanting in any: they have asked for revitalization of public universities; the registration of the Nigerian Universities Pension Management Company and pension matters, among others.”
It continued: “The reason we are where we are today as a nation is because the UNESCO benchmark of 26% for education has never been met, not even half of it by successive governments. Nations that are doing well today do not pay lips service to the education sector.
“We feel pained by this development because virtually all the people in power today attended public schools. They were fed from public treasury. Some schooled abroad on scholarship. They have made nonsense of our education system because their children school abroad, and of course they go for graduation ceremony.
“The implication of this strike is that more youth may go into crime. The dictum: “an idle mind is the devil’s workshop” may play out here again. As at today there is no part of the country that is crime free. Only a week ago, worshippers were killed in a church; insecurity in the north has not bated (sic). In the west, it has been a harvest of kidnappings and ritual killings. The news is all over on the social media about Nigerian migrants dying on the high seas almost on daily basis. And now ASUU strike again?
“We call on well meaning Nigerians to prevail on the Federal Government to listen to the voice of reason by honouring the agreements; while we call on the striking lecturers not to be tired of making sacrifices because of the state of the economy.”