The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has warned the Federal Government to prepare for another people’s uprising similar to the 2020 #EndSARS protest if drastic steps are not taken to resolve the ongoing industrial action by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
The Chairperson of NLC Lagos Council, Funmi Sessi issued the warning during the solidarity rally organised by Congress in support of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and other varsity unions.
She said: “Our statement is simple. This is just a warning action. If the government fails to conclude all the negotiations and agreements with all the workers in our tertiary education within two weeks, they will witness more protests and rallies all over the country, they will also witness the annoyance, anger and frustration of Nigerians. This government has pushed so many Nigerians into depression. We say enough is enough, we can no longer bear this hardship again.”
Rights activist, Femi Falana (SAN), who joined labour in the protest at Ikeja, said the fight is for quality education in Nigeria. He described President Muhammadu Buhari as a president, who “is junketing around the world, while the masses are suffering after the administration has brought unprecedented depression and hardship into the country.”
He said, “The living standards of Nigerians are getting worse. The incumbent administration has left the citizens in a state of frustration.
“As we are gathered here today, terrorism has taken over our country; hardship has taken over our country; depression has taken over our country; the recession has taken over our country, but President Buhari is junketing all over the world. He’s already told Nigerians that he’s tired and he’s anxious to go home. We are therefore saying today that Buhari must go.
“For lecturers in our tertiary institutions and other workers, we are fully with you. Like our comrades have said, this is a warning protest, #EndSARS protest will be a child’s play because we’re tired and frustrated and disenchanted. And I join our comrades in saying that enough is enough.
“Don’t let them deceive you by saying there is no money in our country. It’s a lie. We reject the dubious economic programmes of this regime. We reject the neoliberal policy of this regime. We can’t continue promoting poverty in the midst of plenty.”
The Commissioner for Establishments, Training and Pensions, Ajibola Ponnle, who received the letter presented by Sessi to the Lagos State government, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, said, “The state is in solidarity with lecturers and students, who have been at home for more than five months.
“The governor is someone who is focused on ensuring there are peaceful industrial relations, as well as peace in the state and at the national level, promised to convey the letter to the governor to address labour concerns.
“When the governor comes back, he will attend to every single matter in accordance with the power that he holds as governor of Lagos and I’m sure he will convey your letter to President Buhari accordingly.”
The Zonal Coordinator of ASUU, Lagos State, Dr Adelaja Odukoya, also said, “ASUU does not like the incessant strike but the body needs to press home its demands to make the nation’s universities competitive with global standards.
“The struggle is in the interest of our children. Enough is enough; government must fund the education system. If Nigeria must develop, attention must be paid to our university education.”
In development to rally support for ASUU, NLC began a two-day protest on Tuesday across the country over the failure of the Federal Government to meet the demands of the union.