Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) including other unions took over the premises of the National Assembly Wednesday, protesting the federal government’s inaction over protracted strike by the Academic Staff Union of University (ASUU)
ASUU and the government have been on the warpath over the non-implementation of the 2009 Pact which has led to the current five months strike.
While they were at the National Assembly, the Nigeria workers said they are giving the government two weeks to resolve the strike or face a total shutdown of the country.
The national president of the NLC, Ayuba Wabba, said the protest was held against security advice, adding that the government has money to fix the education system in the country.
NLC vowed to continue its protest if the government failed to resolve the lingering strike by the university-based unions.
The striking unions apart from ASUU are the Senior Staff Association of Nigeria University (SSANU), Non-Academic Union of Allied and Education Institutions (NASU) and National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT).
Addressing workers at the congress mega rally to end the two-day protest in support of the strike in Abuja, NLC national president, Comrade Ayuba Wabba insisted that the congress wouldn’t relent in its effort until the federal government resolved all lingering issues with the university workers.
Wabba said no reason was good enough for the children of the poor to remain at home for more than five months while the children of the rich are being schooled abroad.
He said, “No justification for this situation, if the government is not ready to resolve the issues, we are not going to be tired, we must be angry because this is not what we bargained for in electing our leaders.
This is just the beginning, you must be ready to salvage the education sector, we are tired of government antics and we must take our destiny in our hands”.
“They said we are a security threat but their action is a threat to democracy, we are resetting the country to ensure that our leaders do the right thing.
“We commend the governors who came out to talk on Monday, we want solutions and we want the issue to be solved, we will not allow a few elites to destroy the future of Nigerian children”, he added.
“After the timeline, if there are no results, we will gather and determine what to do next. We want to replace the inconsistent IPPIS with the U3PS payment platform for all universities; Respect/honour collective bargaining agreements that were freely and mutually reached with the union.
After receiving the NLC letter on behalf of the Senate, the Senate deputy leader, Senator Boroface Ajayi, said the Red Chamber had been interfacing with the ASUU and the executive, adding that with the involvement of NLC, the matter would soon be resolved.
“The Senate is with you. We are here for you. We’ve held meetings with ASUU and the executive but vthe students are still out of school for five months. I have confirmed receiving the letter and we will act on it, ” Ajayi said.
Also, Senator Chukwuka Utazi (Enugu North) said for the president of the NLC to partner with ASUU on the protest, sent a strong message.
“We have work and discuss it extensively. We are here with you, all of us are speaking with one voice condemning this strike.
“With this letter, we will work very hard and give impetus to this struggle so that students and the lecturers will go back to school, ” Utazi said.
ASUU said its members are ready to remain in the strike for two years if the federal government fails to resolve all issues of demand.
Meanwhile, the House of Representatives is set to convene a meeting of stakeholders in the education sector to find a lasting solution to the ongoing strike by university lecturers.
The chairman, House Committee on Labour, Hon Muhammad Wudil, reported his engagements with the labour union and the lawmakers’ resolve to convene the stakeholders’ meeting.
The national president of the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnic (ASUP), Anderson Ezeibe, regretted that after a NEEDS assessment in 2014 by the Federal Government, it was recommended that N800 billion would be required for the revitalization of the polytechnics in the country.
Also, the president of the National Association of Nigerian Students, Sunday Asefon, said several promises to resolve the issue but none had been kept.
He urged that universities be opened immediately.