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Sectarian crisis: Evidence of governance failure, says Labour

By Victor Ahiuma-Young
KADUNA — NATIONAL Union of Textile, Garment and Tailoring Workers of Nigeria (NUTGTWN) has said the recent sectarian crisis in parts of the Northern Nigeria which claimed hundreds of lives including yet-to be identified workers, is evidence of failure of governance.

The union in a statement by its General Secretary in Kaduna also called on President Yar’Adua to do everything possible to ensure students of the nation’s universities return to schools.

NUTGTWN lamented that a lot of teaching and learning hours had been lost under this dispensation cutting across primary and tertiary institutions and recollected the three-month strike by primary and secondary school teachers last year.

He said: “Again, this government has witnessed near complete security breakdown. What with the Jos crisis, Niger Delta which is endemic and the latest one in Maidugiri (Boko Haram)? We acknowledge the effort of security authorities to ensure prompt safety of lives and properties where these crises have happened. Borno crisis is not the first place where we have had ‘summary’ resolutions of the crisis through gun-shots and mass killings. We had similar security intervention in Jos and some other parts of the country.

“But the fact that the crisis keeps recurring shows crisis of governance in general. The Federal Government should task all governors to ensure adequate security measures are put in place in their respective domain, failing which they risk the declaration of emergency rule.”

On the industrial crisis in the university system, the statement said: “It took the commendable intervention and spirited effort of the Governors Forum led by Governor Bukola Saraki to resolve that crisis. The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) is currently on strike, the second in the two years’ life of this administration.  Public universities have remained closed purely on account of signing or not signing of agreement.

“Nigeria is an old member of International Labour Organisation (ILO) which has signed core ILO Conventions dealing with collective bargaining and social dialogue.

It is a shame that we simply could not get an agreement in a critical sector like education. Governments at all levels have the urgent task of convincing Nigerians that they do not share the philosophy of the discredited Boko Haram sect through immediate resolution of ASUU strike in particular and the crisis in the education sector.”

Whether we declare war against education through terrorist tactics of Boko Haram or through untenable indifference of Federal Ministers, the result is the same: closure of schools and triumph of ignorance and mass illiteracy.

President Yar’Adua should have the audacity of hope to demonstrate sincerity of purpose by signing agreement with the Federal Universities while using his good office to getting the State Governors to do the same at States level.  With a cabinet of Professors and graduate President and Vice President, the recurrent crisis in the education sector is certainly a national shame and a manifestation of unsuccessful state.


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