Group Backs Strike By Nigerian Varsity Lecturers, ASUU, Condemns Proposed Bill To Give Education Loans To Students

The Revolutionary Socialist Movement (RSM) has declared its support for the strike action embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) last Monday. 
The group, in a statement issued by Salako Kayode, its Publicity Secretary, noted that it agrees with the demands of the union as this is the only way towards achieving quality education in Nigeria. 

The group further stated that it recognises the struggle of the union for the welfare of the ordinary citizens, noting that ASUU had been consistently fighting for a better educational system, particularly with strike actions.
It, however, urged ASUU to cooperate with other well-meaning Nigerians in the struggle for political liberalism. 

The statement reads in part, “The ASUU strikes always come after all diplomatic avenues are closed by the federal government. The ASUU grievances this time are over the failure of the Federal Government to fulfil the agreements made with the union in 2009. ASUU had earlier given the Federal Government a three-week ultimatum in an attempt to come to an agreement and avert the strike. 
“ASUU commences another four-week strike and has declared its intention to continue with an indefinite strike if the federal government fails to meet their demands. 
“According to the ASUU, this strike is because of the ‘government’s unfaithfulness’ to implement the Memorandum of Action it signed with the union, which led the union to suspend strike action in the course of 2020.
“The strike announcement was made after the union’s National Executive Council meeting at the University of Lagos, on February 13 and 14. ASUU President, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, addressing the press in the early hours of Monday, February 14, explained that despite meeting with the federal government and having given the government enough time to decide on the crucial issues related to public education, the government refused to respond in any productive and positive way. 

“RSM fully agrees and has already declared its support for the demands of the academic community because they are the only way to save public education from the continuous attacks and undermining by the government policies. 
“Nigerian youth and working people must fully support the demands of ASUU and reject the proposed bill by the House of Representatives sponsored by the House Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila. This bill completely ignores the level of poverty ravaging the country. 
“What Nigerians need is quality public education funded by the state (i.e. the taxes of the Nigerian people) and democratically run. Implementing student loans means that education will be completely commercialised and only children of the rich and privileged minority will be able to afford it. 
“The loan to study for students has nothing to do with a better education system. The loans will be handed out with interest so that the bankers can be profiteers. In a society where the children of ordinary people can’t get a properly paid job after graduating, this will lead to mountains of debts. 
“If student loan debt has got out of control in the United States of America, having grown massively in the last 15 years and totalling $1.73 trillion (I, 730 billion US dollars) by July 2021, one can imagine what will happen to Nigerian students who come from a poor background.  This bill must be thrown into the dustbin and this is the task of not only of the academic community but of all ordinary Nigerians and particularly the youth. 
“Nigeria is stupendously rich in human and natural resources, but the problem is that a minute minority is enjoying these riches.”
”It’s also important that ASUU should aim to join forces with genuine change-seeking Nigerians to build a mass workers party as an alternative to the present rogues in power. 
“ASUU has been consistently fighting for a better educational system while at the same time declaring that they stand for the welfare of the ordinary Nigerian people. ASUU needs to join the struggle to build a mass-based political alternative to the barbarism of the ruling class,” it added. 

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