The National Association of Seadogs (Pyrates Confraternity) has blamed Federal Government’s disdain for education as the cause for the prolonged industrial action by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
It has therefore demanded that the Federal Government puts its act together and take immediate steps to resolve the impasse by acceding to the demands of the union.
The NAS Capoon, Mr. Abiola Owoaje in a statement entitled ‘‘FG’s Hollow Hubris Prolonging ASUU Strike’ described the arrogant stand of the Federal Government as “ill-conceived, reckless and insensitive to the plight of students, parents, the university system and Nigeria as a country.”
While noting that the Federal Government has demonstrated insincerity in its talks with ASUU over the years accused President Muhammadu Buhari of being uninterested.
“President Muhammadu Buhari’s aloofness to critical issues such as the ASUU strike is disappointing. His Ministers taking a cue from him have treated the issues raised by ASUU with levity and utmost contempt. The trio of Dr. Chris Ngige, Minister of Labour, Employment and Productivity, the junior Minister, Festus Keyamo, and their education counterpart, Adama Adamu, have largely exhibited incompetence in their handling of the ASUU’s industrial action. Bereft of any cogent reason not to implement the 2009 agreement entered into with ASUU, they have been unnecessarily confrontational, obfuscating facts and spreading outright falsehood in the attempt to break the psyche of the striking lecturers, force the union to abandon the principle of collective bargaining and ultimately incite the Nigerian people against ASUU” he said.
Owoaje who stressed that the Nigerian government has over the years provided inadequate funds for education including for university education which does not meet the criteria of the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), called on the government to make education a priority.
“The National Association of Seadogs (Pyrates Confraternity) views the ongoing strike as detrimental to national interest and calls on the Federal Government to put its act together and take immediate steps to end the strike. We reject the explanation of the paucity of funds being canvassed by the Federal Government as another subterfuge to shy away from its responsibility to ensure education is a priority. If education is made a priority as it should be, funds would certainly be made available for the sector like other funds used to fund the profligate excesses of its officials.”.
Owoaje recommended to the Buhari government to rally the National Assembly to make special budgetary provisions to accommodate the funds needed by ASUU adding that to resolve the impasse as soon as possible funds from the Service Wide Vote (SWV) could be deployed to fund public universities.
He also tasked the government to demonstrate sincerity in plugging all revenue leakages and implore President Buhari to convene a national summit on education to salvage tertiary education.
“More so, the Federal Government should plug all revenue leakages to have more funds to take care of pressing developmental needs. The funds stolen by the suspended Accountant-General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris for which he now seeks a plea bargain would have been available to meet part of ASUU demands if the government had been sincere with plugging all revenue leakages in Ministries Departments, and Agencies (MDA).
“In the nine months remaining of his tenure as President, it is incumbent on President Buhari to seize the opportunity of the ASUU strike to end the constant industrial action in the university and other tertiary institutions. He should convene a national education summit with a special focus on tertiary education.
“The summit should involve all stakeholders in the tertiary education sector with significant contributions from the private and voluntary sectors. President Buhari must make it a conscious decision to leave a lasting legacy in the education sector. Solving the misery of public universities once and for all is a veritable step towards leaving a positive legacy.”