Members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, Benin zone, on Friday threatened that the ongoing strike embarked upon by the union could be prolonged if President Goodluck Jonathan repeated the mistakes of previous administrations.
Addressing journalists at the University of Benin main campus, Coordinator of the zone and member of the National Executive Council of ASUU, Dr. Sunny Ighalo, said the strike could be indefinite if government remained insensitive to lecturers’ plight and refused to honour the agreement it had with the union.
Giving an update on the three-week strike, Ighalo said this time around, the action would be total and comprehensive in all Nigerian universities.
Ighalo said members would not shift ground except government honoured the agreement it entered into with ASUU, adding that members would not yield to government’s threat of no-work-no-pay rule.
He said, “It is clear that the Jonathan government has not learnt anything from the mistakes of previous governments in Nigeria that are notoriously known for fragrant disregard for agreements, due process and rule of law.
“Government must be compelled to find a solution to the brain drain issue and infrastructure decay in the system. This is what this ongoing strike action is all about.
All these problems are a product of underfunding and deliberate neglect of our universities by the government. The 2009 FGN/ASUU agreement is meant to arrest these problems and restore our universities to the path of progress and reckoning.
“We are on strike for the same reasons of government insensitivity, unwillingness and inability to keep and implement the agreement it entered with ASUU.
“The major source of problem in Nigeria’s universities has been government’s gross underfunding of the universities and lack of basic infrastructure including research equipment for sound academic learning and relevant studies by students and lecturers.”
Ighalo said the strike was aimed at rescuing the country’s universities from further decline and urged stakeholders, including parents, to hold the Federal Government accountable for the “wasteful period the exercise would last.”