…accuses Govt of insensitivity
By Chris Ochayi
Abuja – The striking Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) yesterday threatened to release the names of Nigerian government officials whose children are studying abroad. The striking lecturers, who accused the government of insensitivity to their plights, said the policy makers in the government had nothing to lose because their children do not school in Nigeria .
President of ASUU, Professor Ukachukwu Awuzie while reacting to the Federal Government decision to pull out of the re-negotiation on the salaries at a press conference in Abuja , said their names will soon be published for people to see.
According to him, â€œwe are compiling the list of Nigerian government officials whose children are schooling abroad. Those making policy for us, their children are not schooling in Nigeria and we are going to publish their names for the public to seeâ€.
Professor Awuzie who faulted the manner at which the re-negotiation was truncated said the Federal Government is to be held responsible for the systematic failure and shut-down in the university system.
â€œThe patient, painstaking, patriotic negotiation for two and a half years has been mistaken for the weakness of our union. For putting on the agenda the necessary rehabilitation and repositioning strategies/provisions of the university system, we are being crucified, subjected to blackmail and cheap propagandaâ€, he said. In the end according to him, â€œthe truth, justice and the true national interest will prevail. ASUU will not be cowedâ€.
Recalling obnoxious plot against the union, Professor Awuzie regretted that, â€œwe are witnessing a repeat of General Abachaâ€™s â€˜solutionâ€™ to what he called the ASUU problem in 1996, in the era of military dictatorshipâ€.
â€œIn 2000, the World Bank in its programme called â€œNigeria University System Innovation Projectsâ€ as a condition for loans to the Nigerian government, for NUSIP, cage the trade unions in the universitiesâ€.
â€œThis informed Obasanjo regime war against ASUU. There are actors who have been in the Federal Government since the Abacha through the Obasanjo regime. The present war against ASUU is the prescription of the same group for continuing the war against ASUU and other unions in the university systemâ€, he said.
He stressed further that, â€œit is a system war against the unions. Federal Government is to be held responsible for the systematic failure and shut-down in the university systemâ€.
The union insisted that, the proposed resolution of the crisis arrived at the presidency was aborted, not by ASUU, but by the Federal Government officials and the Head of the Governmentâ€™s negotiating team.
He pointed out that, â€œin our presentation to the Vice President on 29th July, 2009, we made the following point, that the agreement does not compel states; it does recommend benchmark for each university to meet the standards envisaged for the Nigerian university systemâ€.
â€œWhat those who want the crisis to continue fail to tell the public is that there was an agreement at the meeting with the Vice President that if one minor section (6.3) was expunged from the final part of the draft agreement, there would be no constitutional problemâ€, he said.
He said, â€œASUU will not accept state arbitrariness, imposition and industrial autocracy. For this we are ready to sacrifice everything we have if this requiredâ€.