Dec 2nd, 2013 – “We’re Not Calling Off Strike” – ASUU Replies Mass Layoffs Of Lecturers Threat
ASUU officials through their President have released a lengthy press release in response to planned massive layoffs of lecturers that will begin on Wednesday the 4th of December, 2013.
The Federal Government of Nigeria said last week that if the lecturers refused to call off the strike by Wednesday, a mass layoff will commence immediately.
ASUU President, Nasir Fagge Isa spoke at length on the threat this afternoon in a press conference in Abuja.
Isa said ASUU will only bow to what will serve the interest of Nigeria and its people, no matter their ethnic, religious or class origins.
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.
Read the detail of the Press release below:
“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,”.
“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,”.
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,” .
When will this strike end? Why can’t the Federal Government answer these people for the sake of the students.
Of what use is a senseless threat to underpaid lecturers.