By Bisi Oladele, Ibadan
Presidents of students’ union governments in tertiary institutions in Southwest Nigeria have issued a seven-day ultimatum to the Federal Government to end the protracted strike by lecturers or face nationwide protests.
Members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) have been on strike since February over non-implementation of agreements and the use of a new payment programme, ISPSS, for their salaries.
The student leaders gave the ultimatum while addressing reporters at the University of Ibadan on Thursday.
At the press conference were Wisdom Okoko of the University of Ilorin; Olamide Olabiyi of Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH), Ogbomoso; Michael Awoyemi of Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye,Ogun State; Abiodun Oloyede of the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, (FUNAAB); Olusegun Akeju of University of Ibadan and Lekan Abbul-Azeez Soneye of Tai Solarin College of Education, Ogun State and Mayowa Opakunle of Joint Action Committee (JAC) of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), Oyo State.
They lamented that students were bearing the brunt of the industrial action.
Addressing reporters on behalf of others, Oloyede said:” We, the great students of the federation, hereby demand an immediate end to the incessant ASUU strike, adequate funding of the education sector and prioritizing education as key to sustainable growth and development. We request an end to the ongoing strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU). The struggle of ASUU should never be undermined as we all truly know a revitalization and improvement in the quality of infrastructure and regulation of payment of salaries is needed.
“Ending ASUU strike by giving utmost consideration to our demands is key and a way to kick-start. Do this and secure the future of our beloved nation. In view of the above, we hereby give the Federal Government an ultimatum of seven days to resolve the crisis and get us back to school; else, there would be aggressive nationwide agitations thereafter.
“We are going to use legal means for our agitation and others that are within the legal framework of the nation. All means of agitations will be used. Protest is one of the means”.
On his part, the President, University of Ilorin Students’ Union, Wisdom Okoko, said: “ASUU strike is killing us. We won’t fold our hands and allow them to ruin our lives and future. The Federal Government and ASUU are putting their interests forward. Nobody is putting the interest of the students as a priority. We have come to put the interest of our students as a priority.
“We can’t continue to keep quiet. ASUU and government are taking us for a ride. ASUU is fighting for its interest. The earlier they respond to our demand, the better for us.”
Source: The Nation