Foremost Education Civil Society Organisation, Education Rights Campaign, on Sunday, called on the regime of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd) to avert the looming strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities.
The rights group also told the Federal Government to sign and implement the 2009 agreement with the union.
The group made its stance known in a statement signed by the Deputy National Coordinator Ogunjimi Isaac and National Mobilisation Officer, Michael Lenin.
The statement partly read, “We hereby call on the Buhari government to avert impending nationwide strike of the Academic Staff Union of Universities by meeting and resolving all outstanding disputes with the University lecturers.
“Outstanding areas of disputes include the refusal of the Federal Government to sign and implement the Renegotiated 2009 FGN/ASUU Agreement, adoption of the University Transparency and Accountability Solution,funding of State Universities, non-payment of withheld salaries, check-offs and promotion arrears. Blackmail will not work. We hold that ASUU has been patient enough. Meeting the demands is the only way to avert the coming crisis in the University system.
For us in the ERC, we believe that the funding of public education is the responsibility of the government, because quality education is primarily a social need. It is on this basis that we are in solidarity with ASUUto demand better funding of the public universities, especially payment of the revitalization funds and improvement in the pay and working conditions of lecturers. Without this funding, quality education cannot be guaranteed from the underpaid and over-worked lecturers or from the under-equipped libraries, laboratories, hostels and other facilities on campuses.
“We commend ASUU for its steadfastness over the decades in the struggle to defend university education and particularly for embarking on public activities like rallies, protests, strike bulletins, etc to sensitize Nigerians ahead of the planned strike. We do hope government will take heed of this and strive to meet all outstanding demands.
“However should the strike have to go ahead because of government intransigence, this pre-strike sensitisation activities will help to show to students and Nigerians as a whole that the union is not at fault and that the consequential disruption of academic activities is due to the irresponsibility of the government.”