Education Politics

NLC Protest: Don’t abdicate responsibility to fund education, parents urge FG

NLC Protest: Don’t abdicate responsibility to fund education, parents urge FG
Written by Maritime First

…NLC tells FG: Don’t deny our children quality education***

Some parents on Wednesday called on the Federal Government not to abdicate its responsibility to fund education as the ceaseless strikes de-market the Nigerian universities and certificates.

The parents spoke with the newsmen during the National Day of Protest organised by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) on Wednesday in Abuja.

Also read: NLC Protest: Members March in Ikeja with Placards, Sing Solidarity Songs

Mr Sam Eze, a parent said the Federal Government had the responsibility to fund education and it should not abdicate that responsibility.

According to him, the excuse for which ASUU has remained on strike is no long tenable; government should sign the renegotiation agreement and implement it as quick as possible.

“It is important for the government to fund public education, which is by ensuring that proper infrastructures are put in place in the universities across the country.

“As there are no proper accommodations for the students, no conducive learning facilities or materials for them to study, among others and now they all at home, this can lead to socio vices,’’ he said.

Eze, while speaking on the mega protest rally organised by NLC said that the protest was long overdue but that it was commendable.

He added that what the labour had done was to ensure that the Federal Government should take immediate decision on the striking lecturers in our public universities and other tertiary institutions that are on strike.

“Even though the NLC NEC directive to embark on a National protest is coming late, I think the Federal Government has been given another opportunity to redeem itself.

“Also, not just the NLC, other socio forces should join hands with the labour centre to ensure that government funds public education to ensure quality education,” he said.

Also, Mrs Figor Daniel, another parent expressed fear that the Nigerian children might not enjoy quality education in their own country.

“I feel pained that students who are supposed to be in school for the past six months are at home due to the failed agreement reached between the Federal Government and ASUU and other unions in the education sector.

“I have already lost hope and confidence in the Nigerian education system.

It is as if my children can never get any quality education in their own country.

“I always wonder what kind of education my children are receiving in this country and how they can compete with their peers outside this country,’’ she said.

Daniel, therefore, called on NLC to live up to their responsibility of protecting the rights of workers, who were the parents of the children.

She called on NLC to ensure that there was a harmonised salary structure for workers in the public service.

“If there is a harmonised salary structure, we will not be having this kind of situation that we are into today.

“Because most of those parents that are civil servants that government pays heavily, they have since found other alternatives of getting a good education for their children whereas we have not been able to.

“Most of them have sent their children to private universities or abroad but those that cannot afford it lag behind,’’ she said.

She, therefore, called on the Federal Government to do the needful in ensuring that they wake up on their responsibilities.

“I did not any see reasons why the Federal Government would encourage politicians to pay a whooping sum of 100 million for just for a form to contest election in a party.

“Rather such monies can be used to put in our education system and these monies are not more than what the striking lecturers are asking for to be put in the university system,’’ she said.

Also, Mr Julius Emmanuel, a parent also expressed fear on the prolonged strike on the education system.

According to him, as a parent, the prolonged strike has increased my fears about our educational system; it has also reduced hope for my children.

“It has also made me to feel as if I am not capable to send them abroad to study.

“Right now, so many parents who have the resources have sent their children to countries like Ireland, and Canada, among others for quality education.

“That is, away from our failed education system and for the survival of the future of their children, because it appears that the children in Nigeria have no hope,” he said.

He called on the Federal Government to act fast in providing quality education for the Nigerian child adding that the country’s certificates no longer have value outside the country.

In the same vein, the Nigeria Labour Congress(NLC) has called on the Federal Government not to deny the children of the less privileged quality education in the country.

The NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, made the call while presenting a Letter of Complain to the Leadership of the National Assembly, on Wednesday in Abuja.

The NLC had organized an “Abuja Mega Protest Rally’’ in solidarity with the trade unions in the public universities over their lingering strike.

The protesters carried placards with inscriptions such as, “When enough is not enough’’, “Students are our assets”, “Pay our salaries according to the impact we make on the system’’, and “IPPIS incompatible with university operations” among others.

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and other trade unions in the education sector have been on strike for more than five months over the alleged failure of the government to keep to agreements entered with the unions.

The newsmen report that the demands of the striking workers include non-implementation of the 2009 agreement, funding of universities, salaries, and earned allowances of lecturers, among others.

“The reason we are here today is to let the Federal Government know that the children of the working class, the less privileged have been at home for the past five months, and nobody cares.

“No reason is good enough for the children of the working class and the poor to be at home for one day, whereas their children are graduating from Nigerian private universities and abroad.

“They have the audacity to post them on social media so that we can see,’’ he said.

He said that the Federal Government must do the needful to respond effectively and promptly to resolve the issues affecting the education system.

The NLC president noted that over 10 million children in the public institutions including three sets were waiting for their admission to be sorted out.

“If we denied our children quality education, they will become a menace to society and all of us will be sleeping with our eyes opened, that is a reality and it is a wake-up call.

Wabba, therefore, called on the government to listen to the cries of the poor as, without quality education, there would be no peace for everyone, even democracy.

He said the government must be ready to salvage the country and salvage the education sector at all levels.

He said that the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics, Colleges of Education, and Non-Academic Staff Union of Universities, among others had pending issues with the government.

“Those issues are straightforward; some of them are not even monetary policy issues.

Yet our leaders cannot listen to fix those issues.

“It has been promises and those promises have not been kept, we are tired but we are not tired of their antics.

“We will take our destinies in our own hands and that of our children, which is very important and fundamental, ’’he said.

The NLC president added that it was time to reset the country to ensure that Nigerian leaders do the right thing.

He commended the lecturers, whose salaries had been stopped for over three to five months due to the fact that they were on the strike.

Wabba also added that workers were tired of lamentation rather they want solutions, stressing that they wanted the issues to be fixed.

“Workers must be ready, if the Federal Government failed to sort out the issues after this protest, we will embark on a three-day nationwide strike.

“I hope they will be reasonable.

I hope they will listen because we have sent the message very clearly and loud.

“We will not allow political elites to destroy the future of millions of Nigerian youths,’’ he said.

Also, Sen. Boroface Ajayi, who received the Letter of Complain on behalf of the Senate President, Mr. Ahmed Lawal, commended the NLC leadership for the peaceful protest.

Lawal said that the National Assembly was working to ensure that the strike was called off and the students returned to school.

Also, Mr. Mohammed Ibrahim, President, of the Senior Staff Association of Nigeria Universities called on the Federal Government to do the needful.

Ibrahim said that government should respect and honour the collective bargaining agreements that they freely and mutually reached with the unions and also fast-track the renegotiation of the 2009 agreements.


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Maritime First