The Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA) commends the decision of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) to organize a two-day national protest to get Nigerian students back to school and support unions in Nigeria’s public universities fighting for quality education.
According to a memo circulated by the NLC National Executive Council (NEC) to its affiliates and state councils after its meeting held on the 30th of June 2022, the protests are to take place on Tuesday 26th and Wednesday 27th July 2022, at all the state capitals across the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.
In a statement issued in Lagos, CAPPA said that the decision by organized labour to embark on solidarity protest is the best course of action given the Federal Government’s lack of seriousness over the past five months despite spirited efforts by the NLC and other stakeholders to intervene in the impasse.
“CAPPA welcomes the NLC’s decision and urges all civil-society organizations, student unions, including the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), and all groups committed to the defense of social, economic, and human rights to join organized labour and education unions to defend the public university system.
“CAPPA is in support of every legitimate action to ensure a speedy resolution of the strike and resumption of classes by students who have been idling away at home for five months.”
It is disheartening that the ASUU strike which started on February 14, 2022, is now in its fifth month. This, coupled with several months lost during the COVID-19 lockdown in 2020 means that Nigerian students have cumulatively lost more than a year of academic work over a period of just two years.
The statement further reads: “The long-term consequences of this loss for students and society can only be imagined. Unfortunately, the Federal Government does not seem bothered. Therefore the national protest of 26 and 27 July MUST become a crucial point of engagement to demand accountability from political office holders and to insist on the right of the Nigeria child to improved funding of education as enshrined in the articles of the 1999 constitution (as amended) as well as several international agreements to which Nigeria is a signatory.
“CAPPA believes that Nigeria’s public universities are severely underfunded and bedeviled by a poor governance system that promotes mismanagement and misappropriation of the paltry funding available. No doubt, this is one of the reasons why, according to the World University Ranking 2022 report, no public university in Nigeria is in the first 100 in Africa or the first 1000 in the world.
“At the same time, Nigerian academics are some of the least-paid in the world despite having highly rated knowledge and qualifications comparable to any of their peers anywhere in the world. Any government that places value on education will do everything to ensure that the welfare of its academics and the funding of its schools are given priority in its budgeting and resource-mobilization processes.
“We hereby urge the Nigerian people to continue to support academics and non-academic staff in public universities to demand improved funding for the university system and appropriate wages and allowances commensurate with their skills and services. This is the only way to block the curse of brain drain that plagues Nigeria and restore the integrity of the country’s university system.”