Olaleye Aluko, Abuja
The Academic Staff Union of Universities has said that the letters of notification of strike action, which it wrote to the Ministries of Education and Labour and Employment, have not been replied by either ministry since Monday, November 5, when it resumed its strike.
The ASUU President, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, disclosed this while speaking with our correspondent on Monday, saying the union believed that while the Federal Government “was still warming up as usual,” the ruling class did not want quality education for the children of the poor.
This is just as operatives of the Department of State Services invited and interrogated the ASUU Chairman of Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Dr Adamu Babayo, on Sunday over the strike action.
Ogunyemi, who confirmed the interrogation of Babayo, said the union would not be intimidated by what he described as the activities of overzealous security officials
He said, “We wrote to inform the two ministries that we had resumed our strike. We also told them we suspended the strike initially in September 2017 and we decided to resumed it because the Federal Government failed to implement the key areas in the Memorandum of Action that we both signed.
“We wrote to the ministries of education and labour and employment. They signed the copies we gave them, but they have not written to say that they saw our letters.
“The logic is clear to us in ASUU. The political class in Nigeria has strangled primary and secondary education in Nigeria. For example, as many as 24 states have failed to access the Universal Basic Education Commission funds for 2018. That has left UBEC with over N60bn that states failed to access.
“In the last two years, the government has been giving seven per cent to education in the budget. Suddenly this year, they woke up and said they would declare a state of emergency in the education sector and give 15 per cent. Who are they deceiving? This is an election season and anybody can promise anything.
“So what our union has concluded is that the ruling class in Nigeria – not only about this government but consistently over the years – they don’t care about the education of the poor.”
Our correspondent learnt that Babayo was detained by the DSS operatives for hours on Sunday, after he was invited to the DSS State headquarters in Bauchi State.
Several ASUU members in the university on Sunday reportedly accompanied Babayo, who was invited by a Short Message Service by the DSS on Friday.
It was learnt that the ASUU chairman was invited to answer some questions concerning the strike action in the state.