The Education Rights Campaign (ERC) has reportedly urged the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) not to bow to the propaganda of the Federal Government aimed at getting the union to suspend the ongoing strike with nothing concrete to show for it.
ERC commended ASUU for prioritizing the demands for revitalization funds public universities, “against the background of the Federal Government’s attempt to water down the demands of ASUU, and cast them to the public as selfish”.
A statement by the ERC National Coordinator and National Mobilization Officer, Hassan Taiwo Soweto and Wole Olubanji respectively, allegedly downgraded the Nigerian Government for its insincerity in “resolving the widely acknowledged problems bedeviling Nigeria’s education sector”.
“We condemn in very strong terms the deceitful manner the government has been conducting negotiations with the striking lecturers. We equally reiterate our support for the demands of the ASUU for revitalization of public universities across the country,” ERC stated.
According to the statement, “The arrival at a revitalization fund for public universities was reached by the government from a NEEDS assessment study it sanctioned and conducted in 2009. The parlous state of affairs in public universities led the FG in 2013 to the conclusion that a sum of N1.1 trillion would be made available to the universities over a five-year period.
“The question to ask now that government is dangling N20 billion before Nigerians in the name of ‘revitalization fund’ is whether the problems identified in 2009 that required N220 billion per annum have abated? Indeed these problems have been exacerbated by an economic recession and the paltry budgetary funding that government earmarks for public universities despite the impacts of recession.
“For us in the ERC, it is the priority of the government that determines where it spends money; obviously education is not one of the priorities of the present Government. We have always argued that the industrialization of this country would require a quality education system; and that the present underfunding of education should also be comprehended as government’s contempt for the much needed industrialization of the country,” the statement read.
ERC commended ASUU for staying true to its pro-people principle, in the face of government’s sponsored blackmails and misinformation, especially those emanating from the discredited National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS).