By Gabriel Olawale, with agency reports, LAGOS
The Prelate of Methodist Church Nigeria, Dr Samuel Kanu Uche, and former Emir of Kano, Lamido Sanusi, yesterday, expressed displeasure over the prolonged strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU.
While the Prelate described the lingering strike as a deliberate attempt by the Federal Government to punish Nigerian youths, Sanusi said the issue had the capacity to destroy Nigeria’s education system and development
Speaking at the flag-off of week-long activities to commemorate the 180 years of the Methodist Church in Nigeria and 60 years of autonomy in Lagos, Uche said the ongoing protest embarked upon by the National Association of Nigerian Students, NANS, was a reaction to the maladministration in the country.
He admonished the Federal Government to save its pride and have a proper negotiation and dialogue with ASUU.
He said: “I see the ongoing strike by ASUU as a result of maladministration and what contributes majorly to the mess we find ourselves in that majority of people controlling the affairs of this country do not have children schooling in Nigeria.
“So, they feel that they don’t have anything to lose. Therefore, in my opinion, I see the ongoing ASUU strike as a deliberate action and wickedness on the part of the government.
“They want the common man’s children to remain thugs. They forget the implication. What we call Boko Haram today, apart from Fulani Jihad, the involvement of local people, was as a result of the neglect of youths.
‘’They have been neglected to take care of themselves, and they are doing so in various ways. We are not sowing a good seeds as a country. That is why we are reaping badly.
“I would like to appeal to the Federal Government to save its pride and have proper negotiations with ASUU. The issue of strikes has been there for a long time because the government did not implement everything they agreed with the union.
“To end the ASUU strike and any form of protest, Nigeria needs transformational leaders. We need a government that will think of what to do to improve society and not just their own selfish interests or group interests.”
Prelate supports students in nationwide protest
The Prelate, who threw his weights behind the ongoing protest by NANS, said since its inception about 180 years ago, the Methodist Church Nigeria had been supporting the country in the areas of education, medicals and social welfare, among others.
He said: “The ongoing protest by NANS is just action, I pity those children. What they are doing is right. When you beat a child, he will definitely cry. What they are doing is crying for intervention, and the government needs to respond appropriately.
“I will advise the government to recall lecturers and pay them their salary arrears. If they were on strike for seven months, the government should pay them because it was responsible for the strike. We must all bear in mind that education is critical to the development of a country.”
Meanwhile, former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Lamido Sanusi, has urged the Federal Government and ASUU to resolve the lingering crisis between them.
Sanusi made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in New York on the sidelines of a three-day Transforming Education Summit.