The Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA) has called on the Federal Government to honour its agreements with the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) so that public universities can be reopened instead of engaging in frivolous exercises, the latest being its recourse to the National Industrial Court to arm-twist striking University lecturers.
CAPPA’s position is contained in a statement it issued in Lagos in reaction to the Federal Government’s decision to file a case pursuant to Section 17 of the Trade Dispute Act before the Industrial Arbitration Court in Abuja. The government is challenging the continued strike by ASUU which is now seven months.
CAPPA Executive Director, Akinbode Oluwafemi said: “Taking the striking lecturers to court is a frivolous, intemperate and an ill-thought step that has the potential to further worsening the state of industrial relations in the education sector while keeping the gates of public universities closed for as long as possible.”
Oluwafemi noted that the development is not only worrisome but also reveals the mindset of those in charge of Nigeria’s destiny who have opted to using the court to arm-twist the lecturers in their legitimate cause out of all options available to the government.
The statement reads: “It is the consistent failure of the federal government to live up to its obligations and agreements to bolster public education and university systems in Nigeria that has led to the indefinite closure of universities.
“The government must own up to this fact instead of grandstanding to compel university lecturers to work under terrible conditions.
“If the Federal government succeeds in its quest to force lecturers back to the classrooms, it would resort to victimization of lecturers and other acts of impunity reminiscent of the military era.
“Unfortunately, such a path will only bring short relief. Within a very short time, our public universities will be back to the same situation and another round of strikes.”
This is aside from the fact that such heavy-handed measures can easily encourage a loss of faith in the country thereby worsening the acute brain drain challenge Nigeria is facing, with more lecturers finding their way out of the country in search of greener pastures.
Oluwafemi said the path forward is for the federal government to stop going round in circles and instead go back to the agreements it had with the lecturers and honour them to the letter.
Source: Vanguard Newspaper