05 July 2006
The Campaign for Democratic Workers’ Rights (CDWR) calls on the government to utilise the opportunity offered by the suspension of the university teachers’ warning strike to take measures to meet the their legitimate demands which have become recurring in the past few years and accounted for the frequent closure of universities.
The demands the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) are not spurious, outrageous or ill motivated. They are borne out of previous agreements that have been reached between ASUU and the Federal Government since 2001. They also demand that the Federal Government should obey the judgement of a Federal High Court ordering the reinstatement of the 49 lecturers sacked from the University of Ilorin.
It is rather disheartening to note that in a supposedly democratic setting, the government and its agencies take delight in disregarding court orders with impunity, especially when it involves the welfare of workers and poor masses. The Obasanjo–led Government has a track record of not adhering to agreements reached through negotiations in labour related matters. This one is not different.
The CDWR calls on ASUU to ensure that its struggle covers the entire crises inflicting the education sector, and adopts a fighting strategy that involves all layers of educational workers and students. This approach we believe will prove most effective in the immediate and long-term period in the struggle to rescue the education sector from its present decay. It will also guarantee decent wages for all layers of educational workers, and quality and affordable education for all working class and poor children.
The Nigerian education sector is fraught with inadequacy of schools, classrooms, libraries, textbooks, laboratories, teachers, and every other thing that will make education qualitative and functional.
As we in the CDWR often mention, Nigeria has more than enough human and natural resources to provide for education, living wage, health care and other basic needs of workers and poor masses. But the fabulous public wealth is not committed to provision of basic needs because of the anti-poor neo-liberal socio-economic policies of the government and the self-serving interests of the Nigerian thieving elite.
The CDWR calls on a labour and pro-labour organisations, human rights groups, student unions, international rights and education rights organisations to rally round the university teachers over their demands and support general struggle for improvement in the working, living and learning conditions in our institutions.
Victor Osakwe, Secretary CDWR
Rufus Olusesan, Chairman, CDWR