NLC, ASUU, affiliate unions protest in Jos despite government threats

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Despite threats by the Plateau State Government that the planned protest by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) in solidarity with the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) should not hold, the Union and its affiliates on Tuesday staged a peaceful protest in Jos metropolis.

Heeding the call by the Union, thousands of members of TUC, ASUU, SSANU and students, among others turned up to protest peacefully under the watchful eyes of armed security operatives (Nigeria Police and NSCDC).

In his address, the NLC Chairman in the state, Comrade Eugene Manji, said, “The agitations from tertiary institutions in Nigeria demanding for their rights, and those demands were presented to the Federal Government of Nigeria, its about six months now.

“And we are all aware that our students are laying waste not even just in their houses, for some its only God that knows what is happening to them, which is quite unfortunate.

According to him, “The vices which these youths indulge themselves in can never be reversed; and sadly, the very people who have been at the helm of affairs of this country, are the same beneficiaries of these tertiary institutions.

“Now we can see the neglect they’ve rendered tertiary institutions. On this note, we want to say enough is enough.

He noted that virtually everybody in the country is affected by the closure of the tertiary institutions ” either as a student, parent, relative, among others “.

Manji maintained that what the NLC is doing today is just a test run across the country; “if government refuse to act accordingly, we will close down the country indefinitely”.

Also speaking on behalf of civil society groups, Comrade Steve Aluko, berated the state government for attempting to stop the protest.

“It is not possible to stop Nigerians from expressing their views peacefully.

“The Plateau State Government has not been able to settle the issues of staff of Plateau State University Bokkos; do they have the right to say we should not protest?

According to him, “Education is a right, and any government that fails to secure good and qualitative education for its citizenry is a failure”.

In his remarks, the chairman ASUU, University of Jos Branch, Prof. Lazarus Maigoro, commended NLC and other affiliate unions for coming out to support ASUU in its struggle.

Maigoro said, “We want to assure you, in ASUU that our struggle first and famous is for the development of the Nigerian University system.

“We will not accept the introduction of tuition fees in public universities in this country, it is not acceptable to us today, tomorrow and forever it won’t be.

“Government is saying it does not want to fund public education because they don’t have money, is it true that government does not have money?

Maigoro decried that politicians could purchase a nomination form for N100m but come back and say they cannot fund education.

In his response, the Speaker of the Plateau State House of Assembly, Yakubu Sanda, acknowledged that the government has failed in not being able to resolve the ASUU issues.

He said all calibre of people are affected by the strike action in the tertiary institutions, decrying that for students to stay at home for about six months is unacceptable.

“We will soon be having our Speakers conference meeting and I assure you, this matter will be put on the table, and I’m sure something concrete will come out”, he assured.

A letter was presented to the Speaker by the NLC chairman in the State.