The Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, University of Calabar branch has said the body is prepared to remain on strike till 2023 if necessary.
Chairman of ASUU in the University of Calabar, UNICAL, Dr Edor J. Edor, said the body is prepared to remain on strike and hungry until President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government offers something concrete.
Edor while reacting to Buhari’s appeal that ASUU should call-off the lingering industrial action.
Buhari had appealed to ASUU to consider the plight of students and call-off the ongoing strike.
Reacting to the President’s appeal, the ASUU Chairman in UNICAL described Buhari’s plea as a political gimmick taken too far.
He stressed that ASUU was on strike due to the plight of students.
According to Edor: “It’s actually because of the plight of the students that ASUU is on strike. It’s because our students have no reagents in their laboratories, no libraries, no good hostels, no recreational parks, no facilities in the universities, and no lecture theatres, which is exactly why we are talking about the revitalization of universities.
“It’s exactly because of our students that we are asking the Federal Government to pay lecturers a living wage and not a slave wage, so that lecturers would b able to research and be in a good state of mind, mental health, so they would be able to teach the students.
“So, calling on lecturers to suspend the strike because of the plight of the students, let me put it back to Mr President that we are on strike because of the plight of the students.
“If the welfare of the lecturers is compromised, then it will rub off on the students. The ripple effect goes down straight to the students. If the lecturer is not well paid, the student is affected, if the universities are not properly funded, the students are affected, so it’s because of the students that we are on strike.
“The students themselves have realized this; that is why they are calling on the Government to do the needful as quickly as possible. That is why students are blocking the highway; they are issuing communiques because they know that ASUU is fighting for their good.
“This is a political ploy, trick, and gimmick taken too far until concrete action is taken. They have told us this severally before that, ‘suspend and we will do this and that’, several suspensions that we have passed; even the latest one in 2020. What have they done?, Nothing.
“There is nothing wrong with the strike lingering till 2023. We are very prepared, they stopped our salaries so what else will they do? We are prepared to stay on strike till whenever they are ready to inject funds into the educational sector of this country, just the same way they are doing in aviation, politics, and INEC.
“We are prepared to be hungry for as long as it takes the Government to fund the educational sector. We are prepared to remain in the trenches. Have you forgotten that in 2020, they seized our salaries for nine months during the pandemic? From now till May 2023, it’s not up to nine months? So we are prepared.
“They would soon start blackmailing us, sending assassins against us, but we are prepared.
“Mr President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, please consider the plight of we Nigerian students and improve the salaries of lecturers, consider the plight of students and inject funds for the revitalization of universities in Nigeria.”