ERC condemns court order mandating ASUU to suspend its strike; it is injustice!
*NLC/TUC must declare a 48 hours general strike in support of ASUU*
*Mass actions needed to force the government to a retreat!*
The Education Rights Campaign (ERC) strongly condemns the order delivered on Wednesday September 21 by the National Industrial Court mandating ASUU to suspend its strike. This order is not only unfair and unjust, it is also an attempt to use the court to browbeat and intimidate ASUU. This will be resisted.
For us, the court, if truly impartial, ought to have mandated the government to immediately meet the demands of ASUU. This is because the only reason ASUU embarked on strike in the first place is because the Federal Government unilaterally reneged on the implementation of the 2009 FGN/ASUU agreement it willingly entered into with the union to salvage the public university system. Also, the only reason the present strike has not been suspended before now is because the government has stubbornly refused to meet the demands of ASUU. A court acting in the interest of justice ought to have taken this into consideration and mandate the government to immediately meet the demands of ASUU so that public university students can return to schools. Anything different from this, is merely utilizing the law to defend the interest of an irresponsible government.
Even before the inception of the strike, there had been attempts to make government do the needful and avert the strike, the FG ignored these attempts. This new development confirms our belief that the FG is not interested in meeting the demands of ASUU or ensuring citizens get access to quality public education.
Despite the horrible state of public education, we do not need to scream before a sensitive and serious government begin to address the situation. Sadly, the APC/Buhari administration, just like previous administrations, continue to underfund and ignore the crisis bedeviling the education sector.
For us in the ERC, the best response to this unjust court order is mass resistance. So while we fully support the decision of ASUU to appeal the unjust ruling and seek a stay of execution, we reiterate our call on the NLC and TUC to make good of their promise of a general strike in support of ASUU by immediately declaring a 48-hour general strike and mass protest to force the government to a retreat.
We equally note the series of protests embarked upon by the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS). We commend this effort, and urge the leadership of NANS to convene a congress of Nigerian students to discuss the next step. In the same vein, we call for mass meetings of ASUU, trade unions, civil society organization, students and the mass of Nigerians to discuss practical steps of ensuring the fight for proper funding of public education is won.
Ogunjimi Isaac Ayobami,
ERC Deputy National Coordinator
ERC National Mobilization Officer