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“Nigeria is not a poor country that cannot meet the demands of ASUU,” – NLC President

Following the closure of public universities due to the impasse between the Federal Government and the Association of Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC embarked on a two-day warning protest. 


The peaceful protest, which took place in all 36 states of the country, started on Tuesday and ended on Wednesday in solidarity with the varsity union over its month-long industrial action.


To double the efforts of the trade union, well-meaning Nigerians, civil society organisations and human rights activists joined the workers in the protest to frown at the dilemma that has hit the Nigerian educational system. 


On Tuesday, Femi Falana, a human rights activist and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) who joined the protest in Lagos, said: “Many of those in government today are my mates. We went to the university at the same time. We used 50 kobo to get chicken and jollof rice at the university. They are the ones denying the students a quality education.”


Again on Wednesday, the NLC took its last day of the warning protest to the National Assembly in Abuja, where Ayuba Wabba, the trade union President, frowned at the non-interference of the Government in ensuring the resumption of Public Universities.


While reacting to the lingering issues between ASUU and the Federal Government, NLC President Mr Ayuba Wabba has said Nigeria is not a poor country that cannot meet the demands of ASUU and other striking unions.


“The money the children of the rich in the country spend annually while schooling abroad is N1.6 trillion, which could address the nation’s universities.”


Ayuba Wabba made it known on Wednesday during the protest in front of the National Assembly that should the strike continue, there will be a national protest and strike action from the trade union. 


“If there is no intervention, no urgency, the issue remains the way it is; it will be a national protest for three days and strike action. We hope it will not get to that level because we are patriotic and we are patient.


“We have met a lot of people behind the scene. It’s like many Nigerians are not aware because we don’t make it public. We need to expose what we’ve been doing to the public, all the information we are trying to put on the table.”


He stressed that “denying the children of the poor the access to education is adding to the security challenges Nigeria is facing as he noted that the nation is breeding more terrorists by shutting down schools.”


Meanwhile, Wabba presented a letter containing the trade union’s demands to Ajayi Boroffice, who represented the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan. 


Peter Akapason, a former National Trustee for NLC and Deputy Leader for the House of the Representatives, appealed for patience with the lawmakers as he pledged that the National Assembly would invite the ministers at the centre of the crisis and ensure a prompt resolution.

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