*lashes out at Ngige
By; BAYO AKAMO, Ibadan
The Education Rights Campaign (ERC) on Tuesday lashed out at the Federal Government on its stand over the indefinite strike embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union of Universities, (ASUU).
According to the Rights campaign in a statement made available to newsmen in Ibadan jointly signed by its Deputy National Coordinator, Ogunjimi Isaac Ayobami and National Mobilization Officer, Michael Lenin, the Federal Government is no doubt fooling Nigerians on the purported plans to end the prolonged strike.
Specifically, ERC berated the Minister of Labour, Dr Chris Ngige over his comments during a programme “Politics Today” on Channels Television on Friday 13 November 2020 when he reportedly said ” Federal government is making effort to ensure that the issues that led to the prolonged strike of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) are resolved within the next one week”.
Describing the Minister’s statement as “a promise lacking substance going by the facts of the ongoing negotiation between both parties”, ERC said, “from our own understanding, the picture painted by the Minister which gives the impression that the Federal government has nearly met all of ASUU demands is patently false, deliberately misleading and mischievous”.
“We want to put on record that it is this kind of distasteful approach to negotiation based on lies, subterfuge and appeal to base sentiment which has built up decades of mistrust and suspicion between unions and the Federal Government”, it said .
ERC added, “the true position is that till this day, there has been no serious commitment by the Federal government to pay the arrears of funds to revitalize decaying facilities in the Universities like lecture theatres, libraries, laboratories, hostels etc”.
“Rather the FG has consistently being refusing to agree to ASUU’s demand to pay the sum of N110 billion out of about 5 tranches of the revitalization funds totaling N1.1 trillion that the Federal government is presently owing”Meanwhile, this is a government that easily spends billions and trillions to bail out private businesses like banks, airlines etc.”
ERC maintained, “the same government doled out over N1.5trillion spent within 5 years to the privatized power distribution companies even though there is no commensurate value in terms of quality of electricity supply.”
The Education Rights Campaign then cautioned the Federal government against attempting “to even think of victimizing the striking lecturers or proscribing ASUU as this will be seriously resisted”, saying, “the striking lecturers have been enduring months of hunger due to stoppage of their salaries as a result of the refusal of a majority of them to migrate to the IPPIS”.
ERC stressed in the statement that “any other retributive step taken by the government will only worsen the crisis while throwing the University system into turmoil”.