From Layi Olanrewaju, Ilorin
The Kwara State chapter of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has joined the national body of the union to stage a rally to press home the demand of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and other unions on university reform.
The union members which included NLC, NUJ, ASUU, NASU, SANU, NAATS and other allied unions, demonstrated around Post Office, Challenge, A-Division roundabout and Government House on Ahmadu Bello Way, Ilorin.
Speaking to reporters at the NLC Ilorin secretariat, the chairman of the union, Aliyu Isa-Ore, said the rally was organised in solidarity with ASUU members to press home their demand on the need for the federal government to honour their agreement.
He said the federal government had signed an agreement with ASUU some year back on University revitalisation and other sundry issues.
Isa-Ore explained that if the federal government refuses to heed their demands after the rally, the union will go on a three-day warning strike.
In their separate remarks, the chairman, ASUU University of Ilorin, Prof Moyosore Ajao, and the chairman of the National Association of Academic Technologists Union, Awolola Femi, commended the NLC for supporting their course.
Prof Saliu Ajao, the chairperson, ASUU University of Ilorin, noted that university workers’ demands are legitimate.
According to him, ASUU’s demands are long overdue and legitimate to deserve government attention.
“Let the government tell us which of our demands are not legitimate. We have the right to ask for what we deserve,” he declared.
“Is it our salary that has not increased over the last thirteen years or our demand for government to make infrastructure available?
“We are not robots. Treat us like humans and save our children from idleness at home,” he said.
He also explained that the struggle belongs to the entire nation and not ASUU alone.
The chairperson called on the federal government to address the lingering strike to save students from becoming a public nuisance.
He added that no nation could grow beyond its intellectual capacity, adding that Nigeria’s education deserves a renaissance.
Ajao also called for the enacting of a law to ban Nigerians from schooling abroad in order to allow growth in Nigeria’s educational system.
The chairperson National Association of Academic Technologist Unilorin branch, Awolola Femi Paul, said: “We are also affiliate members under NLC, they happen to be our parent body, therefore we are in full support because the government has shown so much insensitivity to the happenings in the University system, this struggle is not just for us who are staff of that University it is for our students, if you look at the decay status at the University today you will surprise non of this big people allow their children to come to this Universities, if you look at our classroom they are dilapidated, if you look at our laboratories there is no equipment, there is no chemical to bring out good research, look at our hostels they are down, look at every infrastructure in that University it is down, how can we continue like this? Brain drain is happening in the University all of our good hands are getting out of this country we are in full support of this because we are fighting for the future of our children, and we are fighting for the future of the youth of this country. We cannot allow things to go down like this, the only thing we can do is to come out in support of our parent body.”