The Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, is mobilising members nationwide for the two-day solidarity rally being spearheaded by the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, to support the ongoing strike by the lecturers.
Disclosing this in a chat with Sunday Vanguard at the weekend, the National President of ASUU, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, said ASUU, as an affiliate of NLC, would mobilise its members for the two-day rally slated for next Tuesday and Wednesday.
“We are in full support of the step that the NLC wants to take by organising a solidarity rally in support of our struggle.
We are not agitating for ourselves but for improvement in the education sector generally. As an affiliate of the Congress, we are going to be part of the event and we will mobilise our members for it too.
“We keep saying it that the struggle should not be left for ASUU alone. Every right thinking citizen of this country should be part of it. Education is an important sector that should not left to the whims and caprices of those not bothered about what happens to it. A nation cannot develop more than its level of education.
We hope the government would wake up to the reality of the time and accord the sector the needed attention and priority,” he said.
Recall that ASUU has been on strike since February 14 this year over some demands from the government.
The federal government later set up the Prof. Nimi Briggs-led committee to renegotiate the 2009 agreement endorsed by the union and the FG.
Government is saying that it cannot meet the financial obligations required to implement some aspects of the agreement, while ASUU is accusing the government of not according priority to education.
However, the report of the Briggs Committee has been jettisoned by the government for some reasons.
Meanwhile the FG has slammed the NLC for deciding to support ASUU over its face-off with it.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said the government had no dispute with the NLC and that there was no reason for it to support ASUU in any form.
“I think we should also start to interrogate what labour is doing. The NLC is not a political party. The NLC can go on strike or protest if the rights of NLC members are involved. What the NLC is planning in the next two days is about interest,” he said.
The Minister said the Congress should insulate itself against politics.
Aviation workers are also planning to be part of the rally and that may paralyse the nation’s airports too.
Like Mohammed, the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, also called on aviation workers not to be part of the rally.