By Peter Duru, Makurdi
The Middle Belt Movement for Justice and Peace, MBMJP, has urged the Federal Government to quickly resolve its dispute with the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, warning that the masses might be forced to join the National Association of Nigerian Students, NANS, in its scheduled March 28, 2022 nationwide protest to express their displeasure over the biting hardship in the country.
In a statement issued on Thursday in Makurdi, the Convener of MBMJP, Comrade Joe Bukka said it was inconceivable that the Federal Government allowed the ASUU strike to linger despite the outcry of the masses whose children populate public universities in the country.
He said the lackadaisical attitude of the Federal Government to the dispute with ASUU was a clear signal that the government was not prepared to end the strike because the children of most government officials do not school in the country or are in private universities.
Bukka said: “It is completely unacceptable for those who benefited from public universities, who are what they are today because they went to public universities heartlessly turn around to make deliberate efforts to kill that sector.
“It is the height of insensitivity to the plight of the Nigerian people to shut the public universities all because those who we elected into power care less about the negative impact that action would have on the lives of the children of the masses who populate the universities.
“Our leaders must realize that the masses are all aware that majority of them have their children in schools outside the shores of this country and in private universities that the ordinary man cannot afford to send his child to study.
“This obviously accounts for why the government is unperturbed by the decision of ASUU to down tools in order to demand for better condition of service as well as improved teaching and learning environment in the institutions.
“But the government must realize that the poor parents and their children are getting frustrated and unhappy with the frequency of closure of our public universities all because the government is refusing to respect the agreement it willfully entered into with ASUU.
“Because of their action, children of the poor are compelled to spend over eights years in schools to read courses that should ordinarily last four years and when they eventually graduate they would discover that the children of the our leaders who graduated from outside the country and private universities have taken up all the available first grade jobs while the children of the masses are left to scramble for the less fancied available jobs.
“That is the predicament of the Nigerian masses and that is why our leaders are not bothered if our public universities are shut for as long as ASUU insists on government fulfilling its side of an agreement.
“But the government must realize that there is a limit to everything. Even a goat can bite if pushed to the wall. The government’s unwillingness to end this protracted crisis with ASUU may force our angry youths to embark on a nationwide protest that will exceed what we had during the EndSARS protest.
“The government is already preparing the grounds for the re-enactment of that protest given the warning issued recently by NANS to embark on nationwide protest. The government must realize early enough that the masses might join that protest in solidarity and to also express their anger over the hardship they are facing under the present administration.”