The Academic Staff Union of Universities' (ASUU) ongoing strike has been criticised by the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) as an act of economic terrorism and not anymore in the interest of tertiary education.
This was stated by Comrade Sunday Asefon, president of NANS, in a press release headlined "ASUU Declaration of Indefinite Strike: Time For Government At All Levels To Act And Save Nigerian Universities From ASUU" that was released on Wednesday.
He asserted that the Union has a hidden agenda to undermine the public university system in Nigeria and relentlessly support private institutions, where many of them have stakes and probably where they are paid for the "task of destroying public universities in Nigeria."
Asefon also called on the Federal Government to investigate the leadership of ASUU with the aim of unraveling their motivation for their insistence on collapsing the public university system in Nigeria.
“We have taken the time to review the decision of ASUU to declare an indefinite strike after the ongoing six-month strike.
“We consider the decision not only unpatriotic, unnecessary but wicked and definitely not in the interest of our nation nor the tertiary education system in Nigeria.
“Such a decision was easy for ASUU because many of their leaders do not have their wards in public universities and still keep employment at various private universities around the country and as such not affected by their attempt to collapse the sector for their selfish and inconsiderate gains.
“ASUU has succeeded initially to masquerade their strike action as an action in the interest of the tertiary education system in Nigeria and in the interest of the teeming Nigerian students, events of recent weeks have therefore made it abundantly clear that ASUU has an ulterior motive which is to collapse university education system in Nigeria and systematically promote Private Universities where many of them have their children, stakes and perhaps where they receive payment for the job of collapsing public universities in Nigeria.
“The declaration of the indefinite strike after virtually all ASUU demands had been met must be considered an act of educational terrorism and economic sabotage, government must act fast and be ruthless in dealing with anyone found culpable to serve as deterrence to others who might want to hold the nation at ransom and perpetuate systemic terror attack on the nation,” NANS President said.
The student union also condemned in totality the insistence of ASUU on payment of six-month salary arrears for the entire period of the strike before they can call off the strike.
He also urged state government-owned Universities to pull out of the strike.
“This demand is not only insensitive; it is selfish, inconsiderate, and uncharitable. The six months are periods of no work, we, therefore, encourage the government to use every available legal window available to it and ensure that ASUU does not kill our tertiary education system.
“We call on State Government to forthwith liaise with Vice-Chancellors of state institutions to announce the resumption of academic activities and grant the Vice-Chancellors authority to enforce the resumption as state universities should never have joined the strike in the first place. Government must maintain its position as an employer and use its power to hire and fire effectively at this time to save our education system from the total collapse planned by ASUU.
“We, therefore, plead with ASUU leadership in state institutions that had been so ridiculed and labeled quarks by the National President of ASUU to toe the path of honour and save their institutions from the verge of total collapse by calling off the strike,” Asefon added.