COALITION of Civil Society Organizations, Market women and students have staged a protest with placards of different inscriptions at the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja, over the continuous strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, alleging that the strike has increased prostitution in the country. The group which noted that the strike was entering the fourth month appealed to the Nigerian Labour Congress, NLC, the Trade Union Congress, TUC and appealed to the union to call off the strike in the interest of Nigerians.
Some of the placards read, “ASUU please save our young girls from prostitution, NLC, TUC and NUPENG mediate now, Stop playing politics with our future, This ASUU strike has lost its tactics, ASUU please save our future.”
Though, the group in some of the placards had accused the striking university teachers of being selfish and too rigid in their demands, in what looked like a contradiction, the groups also said that the demands were germane and for the good of the education system.
Delivering a letter to the NLC President at the Labour House, the leader of the protest and Executive Director of Conscience Nigeria, Comrade Tosin Adeyanju said that they decided to embark on the protest to appeal to the labour leaders to mediate on the lingering face-off between ASUU and the Federal Government that had led to the continuous closure of public universities in the country.
Comrade Adeyanjul said, “We embarked on this protest today to further appeal to all major stakeholders in the Nigeria project and we deem it fit to come to the labour house because of the strategic importance that labour represents in this country.
“For almost 100 days, our students, our dependants, our children have been locked out of our ivory towers and nothing has changed. We are here to appeal to the labour leaders in this country to come and mediate on the lingering and prolonged ASUU strikes.
“We are not unaware on the germane and relevant issues raised by ASUU, there is need for our institutions to be revitalized, there is need for improved research, there is need for improved allowance, there is need for infrastructural development in ivory towers, but all over the world no country has been able to meet the demands of labour unions 100 per cent.”
“With the information available to us, we are aware that the federal government proposed and has given ASUU a 100 billion initial fund requested for different issues in the various universities.
We are aware that ASUU appealed for more money to be given on the earned allowance and 30 billion was given for earned allowance as at today about 130 billion has been given to ASUU.”
Receiving the protesters, President of NLC, Abduwaheed Omar, represented by the Chief Economist of NLC, Dr. Peter Ozo’eson said that the labour leaders had initiated moves by writing to the Federal government about four times on how to mediate but government had not responded to their letters.