We may embark on a national strike – ASUU

Chukwuka Ugokwe, Awka

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Academic Staff Union of Universities(ASUU) has threatened to mobilize its members for a nationwide industrial action if certain demands presented to the federal government are not met.

The Union regretted federal government’s insensitivity to implement components of the 2017 memorandum of action it reached with the government on funding of the nation’s public universities.

At a press briefing at the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, the Zonal Coordinator, ASUU Owerri Zone, Uzo Onyebinama, blamed government for non-release of over N1 Trillion arrears of revitalisation fund for public universities.

”We are using this opportunity to appeal to well meaning Nigerians to prevail on the Federal Government to show good faith and restart the renegotiation process by reconstituting the current Government Team and implementing the outstanding components of the 2017 memorandum of action”Onyebinama said

He said the union would not accept the proposal by the leader of the government team, Dr Wale Babalakin,  which had recommended that education could be funded from diverse sources as well as establishment of an education bank and a students loan scheme.

According to him,the attempt by the government to introduce the issue of education bank and students loan scheme is a prelude to commercialize public universities and deny children of poor Nigerians access to higher education.

”ASUU believes that education is a public good and we consider the proposal for an education bank and students loan scheme as a deliberate effort to commercialize public universities and an incentive for private universities to thrive.

“We urge the federal government to as a matter of urgency, provide a platform for renegotiation and to engage state governors on a number of vexing issues for proper running of universities.”

The Union added that it had demonstrated its belief in dialogue and due process in resolving issues, cautioning that industrial disharmony as a last resort, would truncate academic activities in the nation’s universities.