The Academic Staff Union of Universities, University of Lagos on Tuesday embarked on a protest over the payment of half salaries to lecturers by the Federal Government in what they described as casualisation of academics in the country through payment of half salary by the President Buhari’s administration.
ASUU said the protest was a display of trust in the judiciary and institutions as well as other organs of government to always put national interest above all considerations.
The ASUU chairman Unilag chapter, Dr. Dele Ashiru said the decision is based on the government’s legitimate interest in preventing moral hazard and discouraging disruptive industrial actions.
The ASUU members were joined by other labor unions, activists in the University civil society organisation, the Education Rights Campaign, and some students who expressed regrets that the federal government does not value education and the future of Nigerian students.
ASUU had called off its eight-month strike in October after the National Industrial Court ordered the lecturers to resume.
Publisher of Metro Star, Emeka Madunagu stated on Wednesday edition of Journalists’ Hangout that the continuing devaluation of education by successive administrations, which has got worse under this administration has reached its worst level under this current administration.
“It is most unfortunate, the way this issue has been handled. Nigerians. Nigerians came out to make appeals to government and to let government know that you cannot say that members of ASUU who were on strike at the time were not really working. The only thing they weren’t doing was teaching.
“We also had those who were on sabbatical, on different assignments and you are now coming out to say that they didn’t work. Government should actually make up their minds about what they want.
“Some people have said that ASUU should move away from this holistic view of issues in the University system to a welfare based agitation like some other union.
Mr Madunagu further said one of the things ASUU went on strike for was the proliferation of universities by state government.
“We just have Universities all over the place which are poorly funded and nothing to write home about.
“We may have so many universities, but what is the quality like? If public universities cannot be guaranteed, then we are not going anywhere.
“We have got to the ridiculous extent of making lecturers look like daily paid labourers.
Speaking further, Journalist/writer, Lekan Sote said there is need to have a political solution.
“What is happening, essentially is in bad faith and it is very very wrong. It will be difficult for people like us to trust this government, and it will certainly be difficult for the people, members of ASUU, to trust this government in future.
“I would encourage ASUU to have their conversations put into writing next time”, he added.