The group urged the government to stop forthwith all forms of threats or victimisation, targeted at the striking Academic Staff Union of Universities.
A non-governmental organisation, Gani Fawehinmi Memorial Organisation (GAFAMORG) has urged the Nigerian government to declare a state of emergency in the education sector.
The group said the development is necessary for critical analysis of how budgetary allocations are being applied and implemented, thus allowing professionals in the field to monitor the processes of application and funding which will give room for probity, transparency and accountability.
GAFAMORG condemned the government’s rigid stance and underhand tactics to abdicate its statutory duty and responsibility of adequate funding of public universities.
This was contained in a statement jointly signed by the group’s National Chairman, Comrade Babatunde Agunbiade and National Public Relations Officer, Comrade Akintunde Adedeji. The group noted that the government’s lackadaisical attitude and manner over the years has continued to bastardise the education sector, without paying much and adequate attention to the funding of public tertiary institutions.
The group urged the government to stop forthwith all forms of threats or victimisation, targeted at the striking Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) as a body and individual lecturers, who remained steadfast, vocal, resolute and daring in the face of the struggles, to achieve a maximum result during the course of the strike till date.
The statement reads in part, "Gani Fawehinmi Memorial Organisation (GAFAMORG) is a foremost pro masses, non-profit, non-governmental organisation of friends, associates, comrades and rights activists, cutting across religious, ethnics divides with the core objectives of promoting the ideals, ideas and ideologies of Late Chief Ganiyu Oyesola Fawehinmi (SAM, SAN).
"Taking into account the lingering and protracted 8 months ASUU strike, over the refusal and non-implementation of the documented agreement by the Federal Government, through different government committees set up and entered into, with the Academics Union, GAFAMORG unequivocally condemns the FG rigid stance and underhand tactics to abdicate its statutory duty and responsibility of adequate funding of public universities, albeit by extension, tertiary institutions
"GAFAMORG equally frowns on the surreptitious move of the FG, by trying to force ASUU to call off the strike through the National Industrial Court (NIC) injunction, ordering lecturers to resume back to the classrooms with immediate effect, without consideration of the terms and agreements ASUU premised their demands/agitations on, which the FG had defaulted, over and over on several occasions, through the years.
"Subjecting ASUU/ University lecturers to avoidable strike/face off with the FG is the height of recklessness, irresponsibility and irresponsive on the part of the ruling government, who care not, the consequences the negative effect of the long ASUU strike is having on university lecturers and their students, who had been at home for this long period of time, which automatically has altered/affected their academic calendar/years/sessions and by extension turned many students who had been out of classrooms for the time being into something else, while some get involved into various social vices and unproductive ventures; a solace, because an idle hand is the devil's workshop, so the saying goes.
"To make matter worse, the Federal Government took its insensitivities of the plight of ASUU to another level, when it threatened to proscribe the union/body, for daring the NIC order and refused to obey or pander to the whims and caprices of government shenanigans, while continuing with their strike, after appealing the industrial court injunction, because what they (ASUU) are agitating for is their right, not a privilege, as regards salary increment, emoluments and proper funding of public universities, modest in all ramifications, which are inadequate and meagre, compared to what is obtainable in some African countries and the western world.
"Furthermore, the FG in its lackadaisical attitude and manner, over the years continue to bastardize the education sector, without paying much and adequate attention to the funding of our public tertiary institutions; a deliberate act to allow for the proliferation of private universities mostly owned by them (people) at the corridors of power, while their children school abroad, which makes proper funding of the government and public universities of no importance, and of not utmost concern or priority to FG.
"GAFAMORG in its resolve to make the APC-led government, who rode to power on the deceitful mantra and slogan of change, to be alive to its responsibilities hereby demands as follows:
"The immediate full implementation, without further delay of the documented agreement the FG entered into with ASUU, to allow universities lecturers and students to resume back to classrooms, without further delay.
"Proper and adequate funding of all public and government-owned tertiary institutions. i.e. colleges of education, polytechnics and universities, our Commonwealth and collective patrimony.
"Declaration of state of emergency by the FG in the education sector, to allow for critical analysis of how budgetary allocations are being applied and implemented, thus allow professionals in the field to monitor the processes of application and funding which will give room for probity, transparency and accountability.
"NASS should increase the percentage of budget allocated to education, to measure and be at par with the developed nations, who take education seriously as a priority, and vote/allocate more money into the sector, more than any other sector.
"FG should stop forthwith all forms of threats or victimization, targeted at ASUU as a body and individual lecturers, who remained steadfast, vocal, resolute and daring in the face of the struggles, to achieve a maximum result during the course of the strike till date.
"An Act of the National Assembly that will mandate children of all government officials to attend universities in Nigeria and forbid them schooling abroad, which will allow the FG to pay more adequate attention to education funding in the country, and discourage capital flight, whereby humongous money in foreign exchange, being paid as tuition fees abroad would be used to develop our education sector.”