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ASUU Bauchi Zone protests FG alleged plan to privatize public universities.

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Ibekimi Oriamaja Reports

Members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Bauchi Zone, which includes universities in Bauchi, Gombe, and Plateau states, have launched a peaceful protest against the Federal Government’s alleged plans to privatize public universities.

The protest, which comes barely two months after a court order compelled lecturers to return to work, was prompted by the Federal Government’s alleged failure to meet some of the lecturers’ demands.

Members of the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University (ATBU) in Bauchi were seen on Tuesday singing solidarity songs as they marched to the main gate holding placards with various inscriptions.

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While speaking to reporters, ATBU branch Chairman Dr. Ibrahim Ibrahim Inuwa urged well-meaning Nigerians to persuade the Federal Government to resolve all outstanding issues with ASUU as a matter of urgency and national interest.

He vowed that the union would continue to defend the university system through all legal means, and that no one could intimidate it.

The chairperson stated in his briefing, titled ‘FGN deceitful and unpatriotic plan to privatize Nigerian public universities,’ that “it is no longer news that Nigerian public universities were closed down for eight months from February 14, 2022 to October 14, 2022.”

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“The strike was launched to draw the attention of the government to the lingering issues plaguing Nigerian public universities.” The strike was called off due to a court order, the intervention of well-meaning Nigerians, and the intervention of the Honourable Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt Honourable Femi Gbajabiamila, and House leadership.” “As a patriotic union, ASUU has been calling on the government at both the state and federal levels for years to provide the Nigerian public universities with a suitable and conducive learning environment that will drive the nation’s well-being through inclusivity and global competitiveness,” he added. These were prominently included in the 2009 FGN/ASUU agreement.

“The union is not surprised that the Nigerian ruling class, which is tasked with managing the country and is supposed to be at the forefront of championing the cause of collaborating with academia to actualize and sustain the nation’s inclusivity and global competitiveness, is deliberately and actively working against these feats.”

According to him, a fundamental part of the FGN/ASUU 2009 agreement is that the agreement should be renegotiated every three years to reflect current economic realities, with the goal of discouraging brain drain and attracting qualified foreign academics, but “unfortunately, the government is deliberately frustrating the agreement’s renegotiation.”

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He emphasized that “after suspending the eight-month-old strike due to a court order and the interventions of well-meaning Nigerians, the government went so low as to withhold ASUU members’ salaries and only pay the October salary pro-rata.” The union completely opposes the casualization of Nigerian academics.

“The union assures Nigerians that it will never be a party to the country’s destruction.” “The union will never support the imposition of exorbitant fees beyond the reach of the children of Nigeria’s oppressed; nor will it support the privatization of Nigerian public universities,” he said.

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