The disdain for education by the Federal Government is responsible for the prolonged industrial action by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) says the National Association of Seadogs (Pyrates Confraternity).
According to the group, “the arrogant stand” of the Federal Government not to accede to the demands of ASUU so as to end the strike is “ill-conceived, reckless and insensitive to the plight of students, parents, the university system and Nigeria as a country.”
In a statement entitled ‘FG’s Hollow Hubris Prolonging ASUU Strike’ issued by the NAS Capoon, Mr Abiola Owoaje and made available via electronic mail, it berated the Federal Government for being “intransigent” and “unsympathetic” to a critical segment of Nigerian workforce.
Owoaje who pointedly accused the Federal Government of insincerity in its negotiations with ASUU over the years said President Muhammadu Buhari’s aloofness on the ASUU strike is disappointing.
“His Ministers taking a cue from him have treated the issues raised by ASUU with levity and utmost contempt. The trio of Dr Chris Ngige, Minister of Labour, Employment and Productivity, the junior Minister, Festus Keyamo and their education counterpart, Adama Adamu, have largely exhibited incompetence in their handling of the ASUU’s industrial action. Bereft of any cogent reason not to implement the 2009 agreement entered into with ASUU, they have been unnecessarily confrontational, obfuscating facts and spreading outright falsehood in the attempt to break the psyche of the striking lecturers, force the union to abandon the principle of collective bargaining and ultimately incite the Nigerian people against ASUU” he said.
While noting that the Nigerian government has over the years voted fewer funds for the education sector from which is inadequate to cater for the 44 public universities, Owoaje rejected the argument of paucity of funds.
“The National Association of Seadogs (Pyrates Confraternity) views the on-going strike as detrimental to national interest and calls on the Federal Government to put its act together and take immediate steps to end the strike. We reject the explanation of paucity of funds being canvassed by the Federal Government as another subterfuge to shy away from its responsibility to ensure education is a priority. If education is made a priority as it should be, funds would certainly be made available for the sector like other funds used to fund the profligate excesses of its officials.”
Owoaje called on the Buhari government to rally the National Assembly to make special budgetary provision to accommodate the funds needed by ASUU and recommended that funds from the Service Wide Vote (SWV) could be deployed to fund public universities.
He tasked the government to demonstrate sincerity in plugging all revenue leakages to make funds available for pressing development needs adding that if the government was sincere about transparency and accountability, funds stolen by the suspended Accountant- General, Ahmed Idris would have been available to meet ASUU needs.
(Courtesy: Sun News)