ASUU Strike: Your Walking Out On NANS Leaders Provocative, ERC Tells Education Minister

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By; BAYO AKAMO, Ibadan 


The Education Rights Campaign (ERC) on Tuesday rapped the Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu  for purportedly walking out during a parley with the leadership of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) on the ongoing strike of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
In a statement jointly signed by its Deputy National Coordinator, Ogunjimi Isaac Ayobami  and National Mobilization Officer, Michael Lenin, ERC asked Mallam Adamu to publicly apologise to the Nigerian students for his purported action.
ERC stressed in the statement that the ” behavior of the Minister is, to say the least, provocative, arrogant and insensitive to the feelings of Nigerian students”                According to ERC, ” the Minister reportedly became incensed and walked out when the students representatives challenged him for sending his own children overseas for education while the children of the poor in Nigeria spend average of 6 years and above for a 4 year academic programme”.
” The behavior of the Minister is, to say the least, provocative, arrogant and insensitive to the feelings of Nigerian students who are rightly angry over the incessant disruption of the academic calendar due to Federal Government refusal to fulfill signed agreements with staff unions”, it said.

ERC added, ” We hereby call on the Minister to publicly apologize to Nigerian students for this abhorrent behavior and reconvene the meeting so that the students’ leaders can present students position and demands to the government.”

The Education Rights Campaign emphasized that students are a major stakeholder in the education sector, and that ” the government refusal to fulfill agreements with unions and the attendant strikes have great consequences for students”. 
Stressing that students cannot be pushed aside or shut down in the on going ASUU strike, ERC called on  NANS leadership not to adopt the usual unprincipled attitude of “radicalism by day while dining with the enemy at night”. If truly the NANS leadership is genuinely fighting for the interest of students, the least it should accept is a reconvening of the meeting which the Minister walked out from so that negotiations can continue” . 
Lauding the protest organized by NANS calling for a permanent end to incessant strikes in the education sector, it urged the leadership of NANS to have a better appreciation of why ASUU often have to embark on strike as a last resort having had a taste of the kind of treatment ASUU leadership has been putting up from time immemorial while negotiating with government.  

ERC pointed out that ” the truth actually is that ASUU is not to be blamed for the incessant disruption of academic calendar. It is the Federal Government that is always reneging on agreement with unions based on the arrogance and belief that they can do as they wish with impunity”

” We hereby call on NANS not to continue to maintain neutrality in the struggle of ASUU against Federal Government over the funding and revitalization of the University system. We call for solidarity between NANS and ASUU as well as other education unions in a joint struggle to demand improved funding of public education and democratic management of schools.”

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