The Academic Staff Union of Universities has accused the Federal Government of deliberate attempts to deprive Nigerian youths of access to qualitative education.
This was contained in a statement jointly signed by the Chairman, Muhammad Sani Gaya and Secretary, Murtala Muhammad of ASUU, Kano University of Science and Technology, Wudil, and made available to newsmen on Wednesday.
The union noted that the body language and antics of the government were indications that the government was out to completely destroy education in the country, especially tertiary education.
“We are prepared and determined to continue enduring the torture and negative media campaign against our struggle in order to liberate ourselves, the young and upcoming generations of Nigerians from the deliberate efforts to deny them access to quality and affordable education.
‘’Indeed, education is the only weapon that can change society, denying our youth education is akin to destroying the nation. The intention of the FG to destroy university education in Nigeria should be vehemently resisted,’’ the statement said.
The union said the use of hunger to coerce members of ASUU to suspend its indefinite strike has failed in the past and definitely will not yield any fruitful result now.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the union is resolute, determined, focused and ready to continue the struggle in order to salvage the Nigerian public universities from imminent collapse.
‘’Unfortunately, the FG is blessed with enough wrong people at the right places. Irritably, the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, is badly informed of the university system and dilettante with the primary duties of an academic staff. The public may note that based on laws establishing universities, an academic staff is employed to teach, conduct research and render community service. So, when ASUU embarked on strike, only the teaching component stopped, thus, the issue of imposing “no work no pay” doesn’t rightly and legally apply to academic staff.’’
According to the statement, the demands of the union are not self-serving but altruistic.
“As a body of intellectuals, our union demands repositioning of our universities for greater efficiency in national development and technological advancement.
“Also, massive and sustained funding for our universities; a reversal of apparent decay in the university system; and, enhanced and competitive remuneration for overworked academic staff in Nigerian universities.
“Nigerians should join ASUU to ask the Federal Government to tow the path of honour by respecting the agreement it freely entered with our union.”
‘’It is paradoxical to note that while the government has acknowledged the demands of ASUU as genuine and patriotic, yet the FG under the stewardship of President Muhammadu Buhari has shown lack of political will, nonchalance and ill-intention towards salvaging the University System from imminent collapse arising from the comatose created by the above highlighted issues.’’
‘’It is quite disheartening that ASUU, this time, is dealing with an insincere and dishonest FG that claims to be fighting corruption but is surrounded by corrupt elements whose major preoccupation is denying the citizenry reasonable living standard and quality education.’’ the statement said.