ASUU: Nigerian Students Urge Government, Union to Dialogue
Eme Offiong, Calabar
The Nigerian Government has been urged to dialogue with the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, to avert the looming strike action over the non-fulfilment of a previous agreement reached on the demands of the teachers.
Students of the University of Calabar in Cross River State, South-South Nigeria, who had an interactive session with members of ASUU at the institution’s conference centre, urged the government to implement the agreement reached with the union.
Some of the students, who spoke during the interactive session, lamented the dearth of hostels, classroom and other learning facilities in all federal and state owned tertiary institutions across the country.
Value on education
The students complained that the frequent ASUU strike impacts the duration of their programmes and wondered why the Nigerian Government would not allocate and release more funds for growth of the education sector.
A 400 Level student of Library and Information Science, John Boco said “since ASUU has stayed this long waiting for the Nigerian Government to harken to their plea and the government has not fulfilled its side of the bargain, it has become a problem for us as students.
“We are supporting ASUU to embark on the strike. The reason is simple: anything that is of importance, we place value on those things. It is clear that the Nigerian Government does not value the educational system of this country; and that is why politicians and other established people send their children to schools abroad.
“I wonder why the government would be pumping money to other sectors such as the 2023 elections, while our educational system is deteriorating. This is unacceptable,” stated Boco.
The President of the Student Union Government (SUG) UNICAL, Tyron Bassey said “the student of the University of Calabar has joined forces with ASUU to make sure that their demands are being met. Our voices as students will be heard and we expect the federal government to listen to our demands.
“The federal government has to make provisions for ASUU, the government has to revitalize all universities and indeed the educational systems. We need the government to fulfill their demands,” Bassey stated amid cheers from other students.
In a remark, the Chairman of the UNICAL chapter of ASUU, Dr. Edor John Edor said that the union decided to sensitize the public especially students on the unfulfilled demands by the Nigerian Government.
Edor said, “the federal government entered into a Memorandum of Action, MOA, in December 2020 with ASUU to end the prolonged strike action by the union. One year down the line, the federal government has willfully refused to honour the MOA.
“The issues remain: Renegotiation of the 2009 agreement; Funds for revitalization of universities; proliferation of state universities; none deployment of the university transparency accountability solutions, UTAS; payment of salary arrears and payment of earned academic allowances,” the ASUU chairman said.
According to Edor, “we had to embark on this sensitization to get the public and student to really understand where we are and what we are fighting for. We are glad that the students, whom we are also fighting for are in solidarity with ASUU.
“The Nigerian Students have seen the need to align with the struggles of ASUU. It is the take of the Nigerian students to join forces with ASUU to press home the demand for improved education in Nigeria,” stated Edor.
Members of ASUU and students led by the Student Union Government, SUG, later embarked on a solidarity march from the conference centre to the institution’s main entrance.