The National Association of Nigerian Students, (NAN) South west Zone has stood against the half payment of salaries by the Federal Government to the university lectures under the aegis of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU)
In a statement by the SW zone of NAN, signed by its Coordinator, deputy Coordinator and Public Relations Officer; Adegboye Olatunji, Alao John and Awoyinfa Opeoluwa respectively, said that the federal government has given poor attention to the education sector and has failed to prioritize the education sector of Nigeria.
“The actions, inactions and body language of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) led administration have left us with no doubt that there is poor attention to the education sector under this government.
“And like the proverbial King who reigned during a period of widespread discomfort, the degeneration and acute deterioration experienced in the educational sector will not be forgotten in a hurry by Nigerians.
“Just as Nigerian students are finally able to smile after the suspension of an eight-month-long ASUU strike, the Federal Government in their usual retrogressive inclinations has deemed it ‘wise’ to pay half salaries to members of ASUU. This ill-advised action, if allowed to stand, will not only set a bad precedence, but ruin the already tattered morale of our lecturers and further weaken the already debilitated trust between the said union and the government,” NANS said.
“Ironically, those directly appointed and being paid from our commonwealth to oversee education andlLabour matters namely; Mallam Adamu Adamu (the Minister for Education); Dr. Chris Ngige ( the Minister of Labour and Employment); and Festus Keyamo (the Minister of State for Labour and Employment) made meagre contributions to the development.
“As a matter of fact, we have it on good record that Ngige particularly was willing to crash the entire sector just to bring ASUU on its knees and massage his own fragile ego.
“From all indications, if drastic measures aren’t taken, the Federal Government and its overpaid employee; Ngige seems ready to bury the entire educational sector,” the students said.
NANS said the reason the eight months strike was suspended is just because of the instruction of the court, and the intervention of some well meaning Nigerians. The student body, sympathising with the lecturers, said while the no-work-no pay policy may make sense in some instances, the peculiarity of Nigeria’s educational system must be prominently recognised and seriously considered.
The student union also had some things to say.
“It is well established that upon resumption of academic activities, lecturers must continue from where they had stopped before the strike, and therefore perform all expected responsibilities.
“Consequently, the Federal government has no ground for paying only half salaries,” NANS added.
“As the leadership of all Nigerian students in the entire South-West, we demand that our intellectuals and the molders of our collective future be accorded their deserved respect and their dignity not be tampered on. “
n addition, procedure to pay the remaining balance of their remunerations should be put in motion immediately,” the students concluded.