The ASUU strike hits its 140th day, SERAP and others ridicule FG

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The Socio-Economic Rights Accountability Project and other education rights groups, such as Reform Education Nigeria and Education Rights Campaign, have criticized the administration of President Major General Muhammadu Buhari (ret.) for the prolonged suspension of academic activities in the nation’s higher education institutions.

The Academic Staff Union of Universities’ strike entered its 140th day on Monday (today), while the Joint Action Committee of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities and the Non-Academic Staff Union of Education and other Allied Institutions’ strike, which began on March 25, 2022, entered its 68th day today.

While the National Executive Council of the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics is currently meeting in Jigawa State following the cancellation of a two-week warning strike, the Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union has just begun a two-month strike.

SERAP’s Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, stated in a statement made available to journalists on Sunday that the government’s failure to meet ASUU’s demands, implement the agreement it had with the union, and satisfactorily resolve the issues has kept poor Nigerian children at home while the children of the country’s politicians attend private schools.

Oluwadare stated, “Education inequalities have a snowball effect, resulting in additional and ongoing inequalities in the future.”

“In addition to being a right in itself, the right to education is also a right that enables other rights.” “Education gives people a voice through which their rights can be asserted and safeguarded; without education, people lack the capacity to achieve valuable functioning as a part of life.”

If people have access to education, they can acquire the knowledge, skills, and self-assurance necessary to secure other rights. Education enables individuals to gain access to information about their rights and the government’s responsibilities.

In an interview with our correspondent on Sunday, Ayodamola Oluwatoyin, Programme Director of Reform Education Nigeria, criticized the silence of key stakeholders regarding the academic shutdown.

Oluwatoyin stated, “It is regrettable that the government has allowed negotiations to continue without a clear conclusion in sight.” “Urgently, the Presidency must assume control of the negotiations with the unions.”

Michael Lenin, co-convener of the Education Rights Campaign, added, “The government must be held accountable for these strike actions that have halted tertiary education.

It is unprecedented for all of the major unions in the tertiary education sector to be on strike at the same time. However, this demonstrates the extent of the damage that chronic underfunding has caused due to the negligence of successive governments.

Chris Ngige, the Minister of Labour and Employment, has described himself as the minister of reconciliation between the Federal Government and the unions. However, calls and texts sent to his phone number on Sunday remained unanswered as of the time this report was filed.

When contacted, the National President of ASUP, Dr. Anderson Ezeibe, noted that the union’s National Executive Council would commence its meeting on Tuesday.

“Our NEC is commencing meeting on Tuesday. If we are still not satisfied with the level of implementation of demands so far, a strike may be declared,” he said.

The National President of ASUU, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, could not be immediately reached for comments on Sunday evening.

Muhammed Ibrahim, national president of the Joint Action Committee of SSANU, NASU, and NAAT, did not respond to calls and texts sent to his line.

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