Published On: Tue, Oct 22nd, 2013

ASUU Takes Protest to the Streets of Osun, Oyo, Calabar


LAGOS OCTOBER 22ND (URHOBOTODAY)-Perhaps perceiving that their previous approach was too lax to convey their agitation at the state of the education sector, striking lecturers have taken to the streets in protest to continue their campaign for reforms.
The lecturers under the umbrella of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) have been on strike for almost four months following allegations that the Federal Government has continued to renege on the agreement signed with them in 2009.

The ASUU organized protests are however not going unchallenged as security forces have reportedly stopped the academic body from embarking on protests.
The Nation reports:
In Calabar, the police yesterday stopped a planned protest by lecturers of the University of Calabar (UNICAL) and the Cross River University. But the lecturers addressed a rally on the UNICAL campus.
University of Ibadan (UI) lecturers had a town hall meeting to sensitize the people to the strike.
In Ile-Ife, Osun State, Obafemi Awolowo University lecturers marched on the streets, getting to the palace of the Ooni of Ife. They urged him to pravail on the government to implement the 2009 agreement it signed with the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), without which the strike would continue.
President Goodluck Jonathan said during last month’s Presidential Chat that the government cannot fully implement the agreement, especially the financial aspect, because doing so would force a shutdown of other departments.
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), also yesterday, said although it would not call out workers on a solidarity strike with the lecturers, it would hold a meeting in Kaduna tomorrow to take a stand on the way forward.
No fewer than 200 policemen, most of them heavily armed, stopped ASUU members from carrying out an enlightenment walk in Calabar.
The walk, which was organised by the UNICAL and Cross River University of Technology (CRUTECH) branches of ASUU, was to take off from the UNICAL gate at 7am and go through some streets of Calabar, but the policemen ensured the teachers did not leave the campus
The policemen said they were acting on “orders from above”.
ASUU Chairman Dr James Okpiliya said: “Our union is law abiding. We wrote to the police and other security agencies on our intention of walking the streets in pursuance of our cause to put the records straight.
“Many groups have been walking the streets, giving people the wrong impression about the situation. We just want to put the records straight. The police are telling us that they have orders from above not to let us walk the streets of Calabar. It is a shame. You can all see the hypocrisy of government.
“They allowed youth and market women but they would not let us academics, peace loving people. We would remain resolute. No amount of provocation would stop us.”
Okpiliya went on: “We are not on strike because of our salaries. We are fighting for our students and the terrible conditions of our university. Most of our science students do not know the difference between Bunsen burner and a stove. They don’t even know the chemicals.
“The Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND) today has become a main funding source of our universities, but this is not to be so. TETFUND is only an intervention agency. Government has bailed out banks and even Nollywood, but not our universities.
“The strike would continue as long as the government remains adamant. The President said after all, the strike in Ghana lasted two years, so that means this one can continue even up to five years.
“It is a shame for the President to say the strike is political. The strike is not political. We are fighting for the good of our people. If there is anything political about this it is by him Jonathan. Let him implement the agreement and if the strike continues then he can say it is political. Any government that does not pay attention to the education sector is a dead government.”

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