The All Progressives Congress and the Academic Staff Union of Universities on Wednesday accused the Federal Government of “insincerity” in the way it was handling the industrial action embarked upon by public university teachers.
This accusation came as the National Association of Nigerian Students asked ASUU members to return to class or drag the Federal Government to court in order to resolve the imbroglio.
Lecturers in the nation’s public universities had started an industrial action since July 1 to protest against the non-payment of their earned allowances and non-implementation of an agreement they signed with Federal Government in 2009.
The APC, in a statement by its Interim National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, noted that the Federal Government’s handling of the crisis had been “insincere and amateurish”.
According to the party, the government handling of crisis shows that it does not place premium on education.
The Goodluck Jonathan administration, the APC alleged, engaged in extravagance by sponsoring the Peoples Democratic Party convention and the First Lady’s rally for women in Abuja even when the nation’s universities had been shut.
The APC added, ‘’It is particularly shocking that the government has carried on as if everything is normal without bothering about the fate of the students who have been marooned at home since the strike started.
“Perhaps, this is because the children and wards of those at the helm of affairs are luxuriating in schools abroad, or because they are too comfortable to worry about their less-fortunate compatriots.”
Meanwhile, ASUU members in Ibadan zone have refuted the Federal Government’s claim that it released N130bn to the nation’s public universities.
They spoke through their zonal coordinator, Dr. Nassir Adesola, during a meeting at the University of Ibadan.
The zone has its members drawn from the UI, Lagos State University, Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, University of Lagos, Olabisi Onabanjo University and Tai Solarin University.
Adesola said, “Rather than for the government to source for the intervention funds from other agencies outside TETFUND, it has decided to hijack the resources of the agency and use it as intervention fund. This attitude of the government is fraudulent.
“We are convinced that our nation has the resources needed to train our children. Nigeria must be free but Nigerians must be ready to struggle for freedom. If the government loves our children and the country, they would hasten to implement this intervention. But the government has being brandishing the release of N100bn for the funding of 59 universities and a number of other educational establishments such as the National Mathematical Centre, Nigerian French Language Village and Arabic Centre. Even the National Universities Commission got a chunk of the fund termed administrative cost.”
In a related development, the NANS President, Yinka Gbadebo, has called on the striking university teachers to return to class immediately.
Gbadebo, who spoke at a briefing in Lagos, said Nigerian students were no longer comfortable with the frequency of industrial actions in the nation’s universities.
The strikes, he said, had frustrated and ruined the lives of many Nigerian students.
Meanwhile, the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities has said that non-teaching members of staff of the universities would go on strike if the Federal Government failed to pay the August salaries of university workers.