THE Federal Government has described the strike action embarked by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) as unwarranted as no notice of strike was received from the leadership of the Union either verbally or in writing to that effect.
But the National Association of Nigerian Students has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately sack the Miniter of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu and Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige for failing to resolve the impasse between the Academic Staff Union of Universities and Federal Government to allow for industrial peace in public universities.
The lecturers declared a one-month nationwide warning strike on Monday over the failure of the Federal Government to implement agreements reached with ASUU. President of ASUU, Professor Emmanuel Osodeke announced the strike action at a news conference in Lagos.
The strike is coming barely one year and one month after the protracted strike that lasted for nine months was suspended by ASUU, with the students arguing that no compensation was made to students for rent paid without occupation, death of students and loss of a full academic calendar among other brunt born by the students during the period of the strike.
Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, while reacting to the development said he was not informed by the ASUU that they were going on strike. Adamu spoke through the Director, Press and Public Relations of the Ministry, Mr Ben. Bem Goong.
The Minister said the Federal Government has been implementing the agreements reached with the Union.
National President of NANS, Comrade Sunday Asefon, who led scores of students to protest against the strike action by ASUU on Monday in Abuja, said President Buhari should remove Adamu and Ngige, he noted have done nothing to end the incessant strikes in the nation’s tertiary institutions.
The protesters temporarily blocked the entrance gate to Phase I, Federal Secretariat Complex, housing the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment among others until the intervention of a Police Officer, Abdullahi A.H, who tried to pacify the students with the promise to arrange a meeting for them with the Minister.
Asefon, vowed that students from all over the country would relocate to Abuja to occupy the Federal Ministry of Education and Labour to prevent the two ministers from gaining access to their offices as long the public universities are shut.
He said a similar directive has been given to students to ensure that all offices of the Academic Staff Union of Universities are also locked by the students, saying the lecturers also have their own share of the blame.
A statement signed by the NANS National Vice President (Special Duties), Odiahi Thomas Ikhine, and made available to newsmen during the protest read: “The Academic Staff Union of University (ASUU) has over the years displayed a high level of disregard for students and it’s leadership.
‘The Union has continually seen students as objects for selfish negotiation, blackmail etc. In the classroom, her members are monsters known for oppressing and extorting innocent students, and when her members are disciplined for such erring behaviour by constituted authorities, they react by looking for something to pick on to blackmail and subdue the authority concerned all of which they always have their way.
“It is now crystal clear that ASUU as a union is made up of selfish individuals. They have bastardized a lot of future, frustrated many and continually see our girls as sex slaves.
“The Federal Government has equally done less in the area of educational funding as they have in all ramification failed Nigeria students in her entirety.
“Our call is that ASUU as a union should look for alternative ways of sorting things out with their employer and stop seeing students as objects of blackmail or a tool for negotiation.
“On the above note, NANS is calling on ASUU and the Federal Government to urgently look for a way to sort out whatever issue they may have as Nigerian students and her future will no longer be used as an object of negotiation or settlement of a dispute.
“ASUU should know that their action is not in the interest of students or the educational sector and so we shall as the organization saddled with the responsibility of defending the rights and privileges of students do everything possible to ensure that students are not again pushed back home unjustly.
All union Presidents, joint Campus Committees, Zonal structures of NANS are by this notice mandated to begin to mobilize Nigeria students to barricade all major highways in the country as well as prepare to occupy all academic Staff quarters all over the country within 48 hours starting from today Monday the 14 February 2022.
“We urge all students not to vacate the school halls of residents as well as remain calm as a further directive will be given by the National Executive council of NANS.”