As the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and the Federal Government failed to reach an agreement, the strike embarked on by the university lecturers continued, with no end in sight since negotiations have been cut off, several Nigerians, corporate and civil society groups have begun to mount pressure on the union to reason with the government on its funding demands so that the lingering strike can come to an end.
The Coalition of Civil Society Organisations of Nigeria (CCSON) in its appeal urged the ASUU members not to be insistent on the funding demands for the university system as a way to resolve the current negotiations deadlock with the government.
ASUU had insisted on the implementation of the 2009 Agreement and the 2012 Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), both of which stipulate that the government would release N1.4 trillion for the sector in the next three years, but the FG’s offer is way off the amount both parties agreed on four years ago, prompting ASUU to label the government as ‘deceitful’.
In a statement issued after an emergency meeting in Abuja at the weekend, CCSON expressed concern at the declining rate of the education sector and called on the warring parties to urgently work on a resolution to save the sector from further decline.
In the statement signed by the National Coordinator, Mr. Temitope Fadahunsi and National Secretary, Mr. Ahmed Yahaya, CCSON disagreed with ASUU that Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) was not doing enough for the universities.
“The issue ASUU is fighting for boils down to proper funding and what Nigerians need is for the tertiary education sector to function optimally, we implore ASUU to be logical in their argument on some issues as regards the betterment of education in Nigeria”, it read.
“We are of the opinion that ASUU is fighting a good fight which is for the proper funding of the education sector, but the continued strike going into its third month is not to say that government has not been doing anything at all in the education sector,” the statement added.
In the same vein, the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), Zone B has expressed dismay over the non-resolution of the industrial action that led to the closure of public universities.
But the NANS Zone B comprising federal universities in South-east and South-south states, in a communiqué issued at the end of its council meeting at Michael Okpara University of Agriculture Umudike, Abia State, said both the federal government and the university teachers should consider the plight of students and make concessions “so that students can resume their normal academic activities”.