The students of the University of Calabar, UNICAL, have backed the move by the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, to begin a nationwide strike over the Federal Government’s inability to meet its demands.
Speaking during a sensitization forum organized by ASUU chapter of the university, the UNICAL Students Union President, Tryon Bassey, said that the demands by ASUU were genuine and timely.
Mr Bassey said: “We the students of the University of Calabar have joined forces with ASUU to ensure that their demands are met.
“The federal government should release funds for the revitalisation of universities in Nigeria,” he said.
Earlier, while sensitising the students on the demands of ASUU and why the union intend to embark on strike, Dr John Edor, Chairman of the union in UNICAL, stressed that the students were critical in the decision of the union.
According to Mr Edor, ASUU was demanding for the deployment of the University Transparency Accountability Solution, UTAS, in the payment of salaries of lecturers.
He highlighted other demands to include; release of funds for revitalisation of universities, payment of salary arrears, payment of Earned Academic Allowance, and the renegotiation of the 2009 agreement.
Mr Edor noted that the state of infrastructure in public universities had deteriorated to a level where students no longer have accommodation in the hostels due to lack of facilities, adding that lecture halls were no longer enough to meet the students’ population.
After the sensitisation engagement between ASUU and the students, the chairman led the students in a solidarity walk with other members of the union to press for their demands from the Federal government.
“The federal government entered into a Memorandum of Action in Dec. 2020 with ASUU to end the prolonged strike action by the union.
“One year down the line, the federal government has willfully refused to honour the Memorandum of Action.
“What we are struggling for is the good of the students and the growth of the education sector in the country.
“We have to sensitize the general public and in particular the students of the University of Calabar.
“I am happy that the Nigerian students in UNICAL are joining forces with ASUU to press home their demands for the growth of the education sector,” he said.
He called on the federal government to rise up to its responsibility especially as it concerns the education sector in Nigeria.
Mr Edor urged the federal government to prioritise education in Nigeria by investing massively in the sector.