ASUU: Sagay kicks FG, as ERC wants NLC, TUC To Declare Solidarity Strike

Renowned constitutional lawyer, Prof. Itse Sagay (SAN) on Wednesday said the Federal Government deserves blames over the prolonged crisis embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).

This is as a human rights group, Education Rights Campaign (ERC), has called on the leaders of Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) to declare a 48-hour solidarity strike in support of the strike.

Speaking with Daily Independent, he said the government has an agreement with ASUU and is bound under the law to fulfill it irrespective of whether it is convenient or not.
He added that FG’s argument does not hold water, asking, “If you know that you are short of money for university education, why go ahead and establish nine public universities when the ones already established are not well funded? So, it smirks of irresponsibility on the part of the Federal Government.
“The matter is a simple and straightforward thing. There was a protracted negotiation, which involves the government and ASUU. Agreement was concluded and signed, but the government reneged on it.
“So, it is the blame of the government not having the integrity to fulfill its contractual obligations and we know that these obligations are necessary if our universities are to be viable and competitive not only in Africa, but in the world.
“We all know that government is never out of money. There must be a way of raising fund to fulfill that obligation”, he said.
ERC National Coordinator, Hassan Taiwo-Soweto, who made the call in another interview with Daily Independent in Lagos, urged the two foremost labour unions to declare a nationwide two-day solidarity strike in sympathy with Nigerian students and their teachers.

Soweto, as he is popularly called, has also said during a sensitisation rally in Lagos that the genuine demands and agreement duly signed by the government to implement the demands of the union in 2009 deserved further sympathy by the two unions to save the education sector from total collapse.

He called on the two umbrella bodies of trade unions not to leave ASUU and other unions in the education sector to fight the battle, noting that the struggle to make public education at the tertiary level functional again remains a Nigerian agenda.

Speaking earlier at the rally scheduled to move to Kano, Abuja, Calabar and Owerri, he appealed to the federal government to consider agitations of ASUU as a national call to save public education from imminent collapse.

Meanwhile, as talks between the government, led Gabriel Suswan‘s Universities Needs Implementation Committee, failed to reach agreement with ASUU, the union president, Nassir Fagge Isa, is scheduled to address the media on Thursday at the Afe Babalola Auditorium of the University of Lagos (UNILAG) to announce the position of the union.

Apparently as a follow up to President Goodluck Jonathan’s directive to the government negotiating teams to take all the necessary steps to ensure the quick resolution of the industrial dispute, Secretary to the Federal Government, Anyim Pius Anyim, has fixed a meeting with Pro-Chancellors and Vice Chancellors of both federal and state universities in Abuja.

VNTI ASUU

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