6 September 2017
By CHUKWUDERA EZE
Following the ongoing indefinite strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, and National Association of Resident Doctors of Nigeria, NARD, the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, HURIWA, has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to personally see to the quickest resolution of the ongoing industrial actions.
National Coordinator of HURIWA, Emmanuel Onwubiko, and the National Media Affairs Director, Miss Zainab Yusuf, said in a statement on Tuesday as reported by PUNCH.
The rights group reminded President Buhari that when he took over power from former President Shehu Shagari on December 31, 1983, as a military officer, he had cited the collapse of the critical education and health sectors as one of the reasons for the military’s intervention in governance.
HURIWA noted that most persons have raised rational and empirically justifiable concern that the president has continued to patronise foreign health and educational services and institutions for his own benefit and that of his offsprings, just like all other political office holders, thereby occasioning critical question around the issues of the genuineness of his government public healthcare and educational policies.
“We humbly urge President Buhari to be a statesman in the real sense of it by directing the quickest resolution of all outstanding issues afflicting the collapsing national health and education sectors. Resident and public healthcare providers and members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) which deserve to operate in conducive environment so that they can provide qualitative services to Nigerians at all times.
“We do also expect the medical and academic practitioners to pursue other mechanisms of resolving trade and professional unions’ related crises than often resorting to total clampdown on academic and healthcare services which adversely endangers the health and academic wellbeing of ordinary citizens,” the group added.
In a similar vein, the National Association of Nigeria Students, NANS, has given university lecturers a two- week ultimatum to resume classes, failure of which there will be a massive, non-peaceful protest nationwide.
The National President of the association, Aruna Kadiri, who addressed journalists at the Unity Fountain in Abuja, lamented that incessant strikes by the university lecturers have become part of their curriculum and this is unacceptable.
He registered the union’s displeasure towards ASUU’s refusal to honour the last meeting that was scheduled between it and the federal government, claiming that if only the university lecturers had attended the meeting, there was a possibility that the pending issues would have being resolved.
In his word: “Today’s peaceful protest by NANS is just a part of its own continued engagement with both parties. Consequently, we hereby demand that the federal government should do everything within its powers to ensure a quick resolution of the impasse.
“That if after two weeks both parties are not able to resolve the issues, the students, under NANS shall embark on a mass action to call global attention to the numerous plights of the Nigerian students. It is our hope that as responsible parties, the federal government and ASUU would take urgent steps to resolve the issues and reopen our universities.”
To press home its demands, the students wrote a letter to President Muhammadu Buhari which they delivered to the Ministers of Education and Labour, Malam Adamu Adamu and Dr. Chris Ngige, through the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Mr. Sunny Echonu.
Receiving the letter at the entrance to the ministry of education, the permanent secretar thanked the students for conducting themselves in an orderly manner, and pledged that the letter would be forwarded to the appropriate quarters.
While pleading with the students to remain peaceful in their pursuit, he assured that negotiations are ongoing and hopefully before the expiration of two weeks, the crisis would be resolved and students would go back to their respective institutions.