NLC to Jonathan: Save Education Sector from Collapse

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) Wednesday called on President Goodluck  Jonathan to quickly tackle the crises in the education sector to prevent a total shutdown of the sector.
It cited the ongoing strikes or threats of strike in the sector by academic and non-academic unions to illustrate its position that the threat of a total shutdown is present and immediate.
The NLC said in a statement in Abuja by its President, Abdulwahed Omar, that the developments in the education sector were symptoms of greater ills in the society.
The strikes in the sector are caused by the refusal of government to honour subsisting agreements or to pay salaries, it added.
University teachers have been on strike since July while their polytechnic counterparts on Monday began a strike over the federal government’s poor attitude to technical education.
The NLC said the situation in the sector was worrisome and urged President Jonathan to intervene to save the students from undue extension of their study period.
“We urge Mr President to muster all the necessary will and skill to confront the issues that threaten this vital sector. As President of the country, he has the onerous task of  rising to the challenge of restoring normalcy to the sector whether the issues are political as he has made the nation to believe or whether they are purely industrial,” it added.
The statement recalled that the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has been on strike for almost four months with dire consequences which are likely to disrupt an entire academic year.
“The three other leading unions in the education sector, viz, the Non-Academic Staff Union of Universities (NASU); the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU); National Association of Academic Technologies (NAAT); and the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Polytechnics (SSANIP), have all threatened to go on strike within the next few days except their demands are met,” it added.
The Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) has also threatened to embark on a solidarity strike with ASUU  in the next two weeks if the federal government does not resolve its dispute with the university teachers.
NLC also appealed to   Jonathan to discountenance the impression that the strikes are politically motivated by the opposition in order to embarrass his administration.
“Those who pursue this line of thinking are the ones who do not wish Mr President well. Rather than tell him the truth, they prefer to indulge in sycophancy, hypocrisy and bootlicking because it serves their personal motives.
“In order for Mr. President to convince himself about the absence of any ulterior motive against his administration by any of the unions, especially ASUU which has come under accusation, we crave the indulgence of Mr President to insist on being availed the details of these agreements,” the NLC said.