Plans may be underway by some Nigerian students to organise from Tuesday, a mass protest aimed at highlighting the woes bed eviling public education in the country.
Organised by the Joint Action Front (JAF), the protesting students in the South-West zone may block all roads leading to Lagos State tomorrow.
According to JAF, the protests, which will kick off at the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) office at Yaba, Lagos at 8 a.m., will also include zonal rallies in Kano, Ibadan, Owerri, Calabar, Abuja, among others.
According to JAF, the aim is to draw attention to the bleak future that awaits Nigerian children due to the neglect of public education, “while children of top politicians and government officials are trained in private schools in Nigeria and abroad with funds looted from public coffers.”
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) had, on July 2, declared an indefinite strike over unresolved issues contained in the 2009 FG/ASUU Agreement. The union took the decision “after exhausting all available avenues,” when the Federal Government breached a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) they both signed in January 2011.
One of the contentious issues was the non-payment of Earned Allowances. But the Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission (NUC), Prof. Julius Okojie, swiftly criticised ASUU’s action, describing it as unfortunate and capable of destroying the university system. Okojie told The newsmen: “They (universities teachers) get their salaries. On the issue of allowances, why can’t they persevere? The government did not say it would not pay. What we said was that not all lecturers are entitled to earned allowances. The figure they (ASUU) came up with was huge and we said there was a need for harmonisation, because not all of them were entitled to it. We needed to determine which lecturer deserves to get the Earn Allowance.”
However, a meeting organised by the Federal Ministry of Education to resolve the issue ended in a deadlock. A senior government official was quoted as saying that it was impossible for the Federal Government to implement the MoU. The union has also vowed not to suspend the strike until its demands are met.