University students under the auspices of the National Association of University Students (NAUS) have again backed the agitation of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), stressing that the welfare of lecturers must be paramount and that government must prioritise the demands of ASUU.
In a statement made available to Tribune Online, NAUS, through its Vice President (South-West), Adesoji Oladimeji, said it backed ASUU because it believed that attending to the union’s demands will stimulate the academic system.
The university students observed that the federal government was adopting a lackadaisical approach to addressing the prolonged ASUU strike.
The union, particularly, described as regrettable Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige issuing certificates of registration to the Congress of Nigeria University Academics (CONUA) and the National Association of Medical and Dentistry Academics (NAMDA).
It decried that the federal government was adopting the divide-and-rule method to break ASUU, a step NAUS said poses a greater threat to the future of the university system and the education system, as a whole.
Furthermore, the association lamented that the legal processes instituted against ASUU by the federal government will jeopardise negotiations.
In the interest of students and to bring an end to the prolonged strike, the association advocated for a suspension of the legal tussle between the two parties.
The statement read: “We expect all Labor, Trade Union and the general Populace to show solidarity and support to ASUU at this junction, if the Minister of Labour successfully breaks ASUU, then he would surely use this same playbook for all other bodies.
“The reality of this present long-term non-academic activity is like a nightmare, hoping for swift mediation.
“It is quite tragic that the approach of the government towards resolving the current malaise is lackadaisical.
“We hereby maintain and reiterate that the welfarism of our lecturers is paramount and any demands to stimulate our academic system should not only be looked into but prioritised.
“It is relatively regrettable that an attempt by the Federal Government through the Honourable Minister of Labour and Employment to clip the wings of the hallowed Academic Staff Union of Universities by presenting the certificate of registration to two rival academic unions namely the Congress of Nigeria University Academics (CONUA) and National Association of Medical and Dentistry Academics (NAMDA) as a mere distraction and divide and conquer method which will pose a greater threat to universities’ progress in the future to come.
“However, we describe the legal processes being embarked on by the Federal Government as an arrant joke, abuse of office, an effort to jeopardise negotiations and especially not in the interest of university students as otherwise asserted by the honourable court, we, therefore, enjoin such moves to be suspended ab initio.
“Moreover, we would also like to emphasise that the disposition of the National Association of University Students (NAUS) towards proffering solutions to this current industrial action is unbridled and unabated.”
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