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University Lecturers, ASUU Has Gone On Strike 16 Times Since 1999, Frustrated Millions Of Lives – South-west Group Gives Buhari Government Ultimatum To Intervene

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A Yoruba youth group, Oodua Youth Coalition, on Wednesday gave the Muhammadu Buhari-led Nigerian government seven days’ ultimatum to resolve its impasse with the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) in the ongoing industrial action.
They asserted that the strike had lingered more than expected, while condemning the failure of the Federal government to reach an agreement with the striking lecturers.


The group’s National President, Oluyi Tayo Akintade and Publicity Secretary, Gbenga Ajonbolo made this known while addressing journalists on Wednesday in Akure, Ondo State, while threatening to mobilise its members to shut down all the federal government roads at the expiration of the ultimatum.
According to the group, since Nigeria’s return to democracy in 1999, ASUU, in protest against the government, had downed tools 16 times, disrupting and halting academic activities and mortgaging the futures of millions of students.
“For three long months, Nigerian students have been kept at home and far away from their campuses as a result of a prolonged, unacceptable and insensitive strike action embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) over their unending rift with the Nigerian government.
“The decision by ASUU to finally embark on an indefinite strike, starting from yesterday (Tuesday) caught us unawares and has pushed us to the wall. Since Nigeria’s return to democracy in 1999, ASUU, in protest against the government, had downed tools 16 times, disrupting and halting academic activities and mortgaging the futures of millions of students.
“Nothing is more worrying than the attitude of both warring parties. Their failure to agree to a truce, in the interest of students who are the proverbial grasses under these elephants, calls for concern.
“The ASUU, in 2009, had agreed to a total of N1.3trn with the Nigerian government promising N220bn gradual release to the university lecturers within a six-year period. Unfortunately, the tranche released spanned over 10years with the government of President Buhari releasing just 7% of the total fund.
“Just days ago, Nigerian airlines issued a threat to shut down business across the country as result of the unavailability and rising costs of aviation fuel, their request was speedily granted by the FG. Since Nigerian roads are a death trap and railroads pathways to the great beyond, air travel is the only means by which the ruling class and the elite comfortably commute.
“They surely know that grounding air travel is as good as stalling the political process.
“This act has further emboldened our belief that Nigerian students mean little or nothing to the ruling class and the FG.
“What has the country done so wrong to deserve such selfish and wicked hearts at the helm? One even begins to wonder if events of October 2020 was a child’s play in the minds of these leaders.
“While we believe ASUU’s demands such as universities revitalization, signing 2009 agreement, paying earned academic allowances etc still stand, the refusal of the FG to accede to these requests has impacted negatively on tertiary education and future of Nigeria.
“Facilities and infrastructures on campuses are deteriorating, with the poor remuneration of university teachers leading to brain drains and resulting in the production of ill- baked graduates.
“As a body that has the interest of its members at heart, we use this medium to inform the FG that Yoruba youths are tired of staying at home. We thereby give the Nigerian government 7 days to reach a compromise with ASUU and return our students to campuses or we shut down all federal roads in the West. We value education in Yoruba land and we won’t watch the efforts of our heroes past go to waste”, the group said.

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SAHARAREPORTERS, NEW YORK

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