Following the accusation raised by some members of Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, that the federal government has not fulfilled the promise made to the union last month which led to the suspension of the nine-month-old strike, the National Association of Nigerian Students, NANS, South West Zone, has described the Buhari-led administration as government of lies and empty promises.
The students’ body in a statement issued by its Public Relations Officer, Kazeem Olalekan Israel on Friday, which was made available to Vreporters said, it find it embarrassing to be duly informed about the refusal of government to implement the agreement reached in the course of their last meeting.
NANS added that, as an association, its owes a historical responsibility, a sacred duty and a religious obligation to hold government at all level to account.
The statement reads in part; “it must be stated emphatically that we find it most embarrassing to be informed that the Federal Government has failed to meet the conditions of the agreement that was entered with ASUU before suspension of the strike action that was embarked upon by the association which states that;
“* The Federal Government shall pay #30bn as part of one tranche of #220bn on or before 31st January, 2021, as a sign of commitment to the MoU of 2013.
“* The Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation (OAGF) shall release #40bn on or before 31st of December, 2020, to offset part of the outstanding claims of members of all registered Trade Unions in the Universities after each staff had provided necessary evidence of having earned the allowances. The NUC is to provide the necessary account details before this date.
“However, the Federal Government in their characteristic manner has failed to fulfil their terms of the agreement that was willingly entered with ASUU. But, as an association, we are not surprised neither are we shocked by the failure of the Federal Government to do the needful as expected of them because this is a government that has failed to fulfil the terms of the social contract it willingly entered into with the people since 2015.
“We feel embittered that the government is not ready to show any commitment to rescue the Nigerian educational sector from the torpedo it has found itself as a result of successive governmental failure. The tragedy of Nigeria’s dysfunctional educational system was witnessed few years back when a report indicated that right in Chief Obafemi Awolowo’s hometown in Ikenne, the only Obafemi that pupils know is Obafemi Martins. That is to tell you how low we have gone.
“It would have been expected of a serious-minded government to pay serious and critical attention to the educational sector in reviving it, but, rather than do that, our government is more concerned about $ to embezzle and mismanage to the extent that nothing tangible was done to increase this year’s budget for the educational sector which we have been lamenting on since last year when it was unveiled.
“We find it insulting that government set up new Universities but downplays the welfare of teachers resulting in a shutdown of Universities for 9 solid months with no end in sight. We have found ourselves in a situation whereby the already-existing institutions in the country are not been funded, but, the government derive joy in establishing new ones. This reveals a superficial, hasty and ill-thought-out approach to governance.
“It is most pathetic that at the time of the departure of the British colonial masters, Nigeria was considered to be one of the emerging great nations of the world. Unfortunately, today, the country has slid deep into underdevelopment to the extent that no Nigerian University can compete globally and there is no end in sight. Indeed, the journey to democracy and nationhood has been tortous and the country is in dire straits.
“It is sad that the Buhari government apart from doing business as usual, is also suffocating us with same spent forces that have had their time in leadership but made a mess of it. We believe that Buhari will ultimately be remembered as a man who had the opportunity to write his name in gold, but choose rather for selfish interest to write it on marble of infamy.”
The association concluded that, it says NO to a clandestine return to military dictatorship complicated with irredeemable corrupt system and terrorism and State-terror against dissent. It maintains that, if tyranny is law, then, revolution is order.
Finally, the body emphasized that, it align its thoughts with any action embarked upon by ASUU and all Staff Unions on campuses.
Recall that, the Minister of Labour and Employment had in phone chat with This Day Newspaper two days ago denied the allegation raised by ASUU, stating that, ” There is no breach of the agreement. The Federal Government has paid N40 billion Earned Academic Allowance to the National Universities Commission, NUC, has aggred”.