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ASUU Strike: Group Warns Nigeria Labour Congress Against Last-Minute Suspension Of Nationwide Protest Without Achieving Demands

July 19, 2022

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has been on strike for five months over the failure of the Nigerian government to honour an agreement on issues bordering on funding universities, as well as salaries and allowances of lecturers.

The Education Right Campaign has commended the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) on its plan to stage a nationwide protest over the continued closure of tertiary institutions in the country.

 

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has been on strike for five months over the failure of the Nigerian government to honour an agreement on issues bordering on funding universities, as well as salaries and allowances of lecturers.

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In a letter dated July 15 and addressed to chairpersons of the NLC in the states, Ayuba Wabba, the congress’ national president, and Emmanuel Ugboaja, general secretary, said the protest is aimed at getting “our children back to school and support our unions in Nigeria’s public universities fighting for quality education”.

 

They designated Labour House in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and secretariats of the NLC as the takeoff points for the protest.

 

According to the circular, the protest would be held on Tuesday, July 26, 2022, and Wednesday, July 27, 2022, in all the states of the Federation and Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.

 

ERC’s Deputy National Coordinator, Ogunjimi Isaac Ayobami, and ERC National Secretary, Michael Lenin, in a statement on Tuesday hailed the action of the workers’ union.

 

The group however warned against last-minute suspension of the protest without any democratic discussion or any concrete resolution of the crisis.

 

The statement read, “We of the Education Rights Campaign (ERC) welcome the decision of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) to embark on a two-day national protest on 26 and 27 July 2022 to force the government to meet the demands of ASUU and other University unions. Although coming very late, it is a step in the right direction.

“The ERC has been at the forefront of calling on NLC and TUC to embark on a series of mass actions to defend public education from the claws of the capitalist ruling class who are hell-bent on not just ruining it but also taking it out of the reach of children of the working masses.

 

“We hereby urge the Trade Union Congress (TUC) to align with the position of the NLC and mobilize out its members to jointly prosecute the two-day national protest. The ERC also calls on Nigerian students, students unions, radical student groups, NANS and civil society organizations to answer the call of the NLC by mobilizing to join organized labour on 26 and 27 July 2022 for the protest. To draw in as many forces as possible and to ensure active mobilization, the ERC urge the NLC to direct its state councils to convene state planning meetings within the next few days.

 

“At the same time, we call for the independent preparation of the mass of students, parents and well-meaning Nigerians for the July 26 and 27 protests. In the event that the NLC calls off the protest before the set date as is their usual practice, we ask that students, parents, education workers and workers generally should go on to protest independently for the reopening of schools and to make the federal government yield to the demands of the public university unions.

“To achieve this, we ask students, parents and workers across all states to start organizing independent protest committees that can work with the NLC state councils to organize the protest while remaining independent of it.

 

“While we consider NLC’s decision to embark on a protest in the right direction, we equally warn against late-minute suspension of the protest without any democratic discussion or any concrete resolution of the crisis. We make this point against the background of the constant suspension of strikes and mass action by NLC without any resolution of the crisis the action was intended to resolve.

“For instance, in January this year, the NLC and TUC declared a protest over the planned removal of fuel subsidy only to call it off at the eleventh hour. Similar thing happened in 2020, when the NLC called off its planned strike scheduled to commence on September 28 that year.

 

“If this protest is successful, it can send a clear warning to the capitalist elite however far more would be required to win victory. This is because the President Buhari APC government appears to recognize that conceding to the demands of public university unions may provoke a contagion of demands for wage review and sundry issues across the labour movement, especially in the context of economic crisis, inflation and worsening living standards. Therefore, we urge the NLC and TUC to begin to prepare for a 48-hour general strike as the next stage after the July 26 and 27 national protests.”

 

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