By Innocent Anaba
The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), yesterday called on the Federal Government to respect its agreement with the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
It argued that government’s resort to blackmail, a veritable pastime of government functionaries whenever their acts of disservice to the nation are highlighted, will achieve nothing.
The association also advised the government to accept its failing and apologise for the inexplicable neglect of the Niger Delta region.
It added that genuine fighters for the cause of the region must be sifted from ”commercial agitators” who come in different forms before it canÂ proceed on the grant of amnesty.
NBA President, Chief Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (SAN), in a statement in Lagos yesterday, said, â€œuniversities owned by governments in the country, state and federal, are back in the trenches consequent upon the resumption of the suspended strike by ASUU.
“The demands of the union will appear to keen watchers of events as stale.
“The current administration does not appear to possess any clue as regards the realistic solution to the perennial challenges faced by the country.
“It is time all stakeholders in the polity intervene to save our educational system from total collapse.
â€œIt is worthy of note that the agreement between the Federal Government and ASUU is a culmination of negotiations spanning two and half years.
“It smacks of bad faith for any representative of the government to deny the existence of same.
“All the good people in this country have the duty to impress it on our politicians that the issue of education must be taken seriously.
“We must not stop at talking to them alone as it is becoming increasingly clear that these people are impervious to the suggestions aimed at ameliorating the rapidly dwindling fortunes in the sector,” he added.
On the amnesty granted, the association said, â€œwe view with great concern, the levity with which the delicate issue of security in the Niger Delta and a peopleâ€™s genuine aspiration is being treated by this government. This administration is assuming an embarrassing status of notoriety considering its predilection for putting mediocre stamps of approbation on opportunistic suggestions.
While we do not wish to contend with the government on the appropriateness of purporting to grant amnesty to a people serially violated by the rapacity of the ruling class, the omnibus extension of a tenuously qualified programme of reprieve to even criminals appears thoughtless.
â€œThe government must consciously separate genuine agitators from felons who have tainted the struggle for the emancipation of the people of the region with their acts of criminality. We must avoid another jamboree. The government should first accept its failing and apologise for the inexplicable neglect of a locality upon which all mundane aspirations of avaricious politicians are hinged.
The genuinely aggrieved must be sifted from commercial agitators who come in different forms. The government can then proceed on the grant of amnesty. Committing billions of naira to a nebulous project will amount to another grand swindleâ€, he added.