A civil rights organisation, the Anti-Corruption Network, has given the Federal Government “one week” to resolve its dispute with the striking members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities.
It said it would mobilise Nigerians for a protest to the Federal Ministry of Education.
The group, which expressed disappointment at government’s lukewarm attitude to the plight of students, suggested that President Goodluck Jonathan should take loan to offset the N92bn being demanded by ASUU.
It said in a statement by its Executive Secretary , Dino Melaye, that government’s attitude showed that it had no interest in the future of Nigerian students.
The statement reads in part, “The ongoing face-off between the Federal Government and ASUU is a reflection of bad government and keeping quiet would be like the proverbial adult who, while at home, allowed the she-goat to suffer the pains of malnutrition on its tether.
“The Federal Government as far back as 2009 went into an agreement with ASUU and signed that agreement. Why will you agree to what you don’t intend to do? A gentleman will go into an agreement and then carry out the agreement to the latter. The agreement was made in 2009; why was there no budgetary provision for that agreement in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013?
“Why would the Federal Government enter into an agreement they don’t intend to implement? So we are giving them one week of grace and if by Friday next week, the government did not resolve the crisis with ASUU, we will mobilise Nigerians, students and parents to be on the streets to protest against this reckless and irresponsible government.
“By Friday next week, if the Federal Government refuses to resolve the ASUU crisis, we will protest to the Federal Ministry of Education where we will register our anger against an insensitive government.
“They just went to China to secure a loan of $1.1bn. Why is it difficult for the Federal Government to raise N92bn to solve the problem in our education sector? Education is the bedrock of every development; it is the bedrock of any nation. It is shameful that the Federal Government is showing this lackadaisical attitude towards the next generation.
“If the Federal Government is serious, there is something in the parliament that is called virement. There are lots of contracts that have been budgeted for in this dispensation that they have not even started this month.
“All the Federal Government needed to do is for the President to write the National Assembly and seek for a virement or even take a loan. They can spend money on frivolities, they can spend money on very many unreasonable things. But the Federal Government cannot source for N92bn. Above all, the Federal Government has shown that is is not a responsible government.”
Also the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III, on Thursday advocated for sustainable peace in Nigeria and its universities.
According to him, sustainable peace is very crucial to the realisation of Nigeria’s scientific, technological and socio-economic needs.
“Without peace, there won’t be any chance for development, and this will be disastrous for Nigeria and the world,’’ the Sultan said.
He also said that peace in the universities and other institutions would impact positively on the training of quality manpower for the nation.
“If this is not ensured, the opposite will be the case and the county would continue to lag behind,’’the monarch added.