The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Ambrose Alli University (AAU), Chapter, Ekpoma, has justified the nationwide strike embarked on by the union, saying the strike would encourage government to rethink its planned move to commercialise education.
The group, in a statement by ASUU local chapter, led by Dr. Monday Igbafen tasked stakeholders, particularly students and parents on the need to join the struggle for improved funding of public universities, describing the ongoing strike as a veritable motive to bring about quality education in the country.
“Nigerians should bear with us. ASUU is fighting their battle. Our union is struggling to ensure that the children of the poor, who cannot afford the prohibitive cost paid in private universities or do not have opportunities to study outside Nigeria, get quality education, which is not priced beyond their reach. This will only happen when government adequately funds public universities and addresses the rot and decay in them.
The statement accused some leaders in government of gross insensitivity to the sad realities in public universities, the reason being that their children are not in Nigerian universities but schooling in foreign institutions.
This, the union alleged, is responsible for the obvious lack of commitment from government for the speedy resolution of the dispute with varsity teachers.
While pointing out that the union had granted substantial concession in its demands to pave way for easy and quick resolution of the crisis, ASUU described the attitude and approach of the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige as falling short of expectation.
According to the ASUU chairperson, while the union had shifted positions for instance on the reduction of one tranche (N220b) of the outstanding revitalisation fund by 50 per cent, government is insisting on paying ASUU members through the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS).