2nd December, 2013
The Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU has vowed to continue its five-month old strike, despite threats by the Federal Government to sack its members who failed to resume by Wednesday (4 December).
Addressing journalists this afternnon, National President of ASUU, Nasir Fagge Isa, said no amount of threat can force the union to call of its strike.
According to him, the union will only bow to what will serve the interest of Nigeria and its people, no matter their ethnic, religious or class origins.
“We shall never be cowed,” Isa declared.
He expressed dismay that a Minister of Education could call for the sack of all academic staff in universities in the country, adding that the government appeared not to have learnt any lesson from the previous regimes of Generals Ibrahim Babangida and Sanni Abacha who issued similar threat but failed to subdue the lecturers.
“That a Minister of Education would pronounce a threat of mass sack of academic staff is a tragedy of huge proportion for Nigeria and Africa. While ASUU has been struggling for conditions in which Nigerian students would benefit from a very much enhanced academic environment in teaching and research facilities, the Minister of Education is thinking of a thoughtless mass sack as a solution to the problems arising from government’s non-implementation of an agreement reached with ASUU as if Nigerian rulers have made no intellectual progress since Abacha,” Isa stated.
The ASUU President called on Nigerians who cared about the country to prevail on the Federal Government to do what is just and noble, as its present approach will only compound the deepening crises.
The union said its members were not afraid of sack because they are not begging for jobs.
“To be clear, Nigerian lecturers, from Graduate Assistants to Professors, are not begging anybody for jobs. It is now well known that since 2003, successive governments have told the Nigerian people, repeatedly, that the solution to Nigeria’s social and economic crises is to kill public, economic and educational institutions and institute the reign of private control of the economy and education, whereas the Constitution of Nigeria states clearly that the commanding heights of Nigeria’s economy shall be publicly owned. The President of Nigeria in 2003, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo told ASUU that the solution to Nigeria’s university crisis is massive privatisation.
“From all indications, the Minister of Education, on behalf of the present government, assisted without shame by NUC, and on behalf of government, is set to carry out in the sphere of education what one of its predecessors did with universities, Transcorps, and the Airways. The way is being paved for privatisation of education. Academic staff have a duty to defend the right of Nigerians to sound public education. To succumb to the present threat by the Minister of Education on behalf of government is to give up on Nigeria. We in the academic profession have no such intention,” Isa declared further.
Instead of issuing threat of mass sack, ASUU called on the government to recruit more lecturers for the nations’ universities.
“Given the inadequacy of teaching staff in the university system, it is recommended that government shall have a deliberate policy of improving the national teacher-student ratio to 1:20 within the next two years. Using the present figures of students’ enrolment; this translates to increasing the number of full-time academic staff in Nigerian universities to 50,000. This means the recruitment of additional 23,000 lecturers on the basis of 50:50 ratio between the Federal and state universities,” Isa stated.
Read the full statement of ASUU here: Text of Press December ASUU vs FGN-2