A former presidential candidate, Kingsley Moghalu has stated that the prolonged strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) is evidence of President Muhammadu Buhari-led government’s failure to ensure the well-being of Nigerians.
Recall that ASUU had embarked on an indefinite strike in March over non-implementation of agreements and resolutions the federal government reached with the union in 2009.
The union had also opposed the adoption of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) while presenting its University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) as an alternative.
The former deputy governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in a statement on Wednesday said it is unfortunate that the current administration has allowed the strike to linger for long.
He also described the ongoing strike as a “serious infringement” on the right of Nigerians, especially the youth, to education based on the universal declaration of human rights.
Moghalu, who is the convener of To Build A Nation (TBAN), said while industrial actions are legitimate, they become dysfunctional when protracted.
“That the government has allowed the current ASUU strike to continue for many months, by not reaching agreement with the lecturers, is very unfortunate. It amounts to a dereliction of the duty of the government to the wellbeing of the citizens,” the statement read.
“This strike has inflicted mental torture on university students, who are left to wonder when they will complete their programmes. Sadly, the ASUU strike falls into an established pattern. The government has not given due attention to education.
“The country has been underinvesting in education for years and is far behind its comparator developing countries and emerging economies in terms of public investment in education.”
Moghalu said the federal government can’t claim seriousness about poor funding of universities — which is a major issue raised by ASUU — when only 5.6% was allocated to education in the 2021 appropriation bill.
“This indicates that the government is not giving enough considerations to the major issue in its long history of dispute with ASUU. The main issue has been the funding of the tertiary institutions, of which the emoluments of the lecturers are just a part,” he added.
According to him, the federal government should withdraw the already-submitted 2021 appropriation bill and increase allocation to education to at least 15% in order to demonstrate its commitment to the sector.
He added that the government must initiate measures that will bring about comprehensive reforms in the country’s education sector which include improvement in teachers’ salaries and review in admission standards.