Yenagoa – The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Niger Delta University (NDU) chapter, says it will not allowed opposition politicians to hijack the ongoing nationwide strike by the union.
The Chairman of university chapter of the union, Dr. Beke Sese, gave the assurance on Tuesday while speaking at a solidarity rally at the premises of the Law Faculty of the university in Yenagoa.
The union has been on strike since July 1.
Sese expressed the union’s displeasure over the attempt to misconstrue the objective of the strike.
“We are aware that some opposition politicians are trying to capitalise on the current ASUU strike to cast aspersions on government and inadvertently trivialise our genuine struggle.
“Let me state here that ASUU is not a party to such cheap manifestation of political opportunism.
“We rather wish to implore this government to make history by commencing the process of revitalising public universities to a height never attained by any previous administration.”
He recalled that the union had over the years, consistently engaged successive governments through dialogue, to compel the political leadership to arrest the rot in the university system.
According to him, the leadership of ASUU has held several talks with the Federal Government over a possible peaceful resolution of the present crisis.
“But it is quite disheartening that the government has refused to show the necessary commitment and sincerity in its self-proclaimed effort to address our demand.
“Rather than honour an agreement it freely entered into with our union after several months of negotiation, government has resorted to arbitrary imposition of money.”
Sese said that the purported disbursement of N100 billion to address the funding requirement of some universities was arbitrary.
He recalled that the government had promised to stimulate the process of revitalising the university system with an initial sum of N100 billion for 2012.
This, he said, would be built up to a yearly sum of N400 billion in the three years from 2013 to 2015 as intervention.
“But regrettably, the said N100 billion being purportedly disbursed is, therefore, not at variance with the 2009 agreement and MoU signed with government on the 24th of January, 2012.
“Rather, it appears to be a strategy of government aimed at dividing us.
“By our estimation, the MoU should have fetched the universities a total sum of N500 billion by now, if government had faithfully implemented the 2012 agreement.”
Sese said the the claim that there were no funds to implement the 2009 agreement was untenable, adding that the same government had within the last three years provided trillions of naira from public coffers as “bail outs” to support private concerns such as banks and arlines.
The union chairman urged parents to support ASUU’s effort to compel government to “do what is right for university education”.
He said that the union would remain determined in its effort to bring a drastic change in the university system.
NAN reports that the solidarity rally, which was supposed to be a public rally along major roads of Yenagoa, was cut short by the Bayelsa Police Command as it refused to grant the union a rally permit. (NAN)