Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) on Monday expressed solidarity with university students over decay in the nation’s educational system.

The labour movement lamented that the fight for a better educational system has been left for only the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and the non-academic staff to prosecute.

NLC’s Head of International Relations and National Assembly Liason Uche Ekwe, who stood in for the NLC President Ayuba Wabba, said it is unfortunate that the budget for education has continued on the downward trend in the past 20 years, adding that the country was still far from the 26 per cent mark recommended by UNESCO for education funding.

Ekwe said: “In the past, Nigerian students have not organised themselves in this manner. The campaign which is to save education is apt,” adding that for the past 20 years, “our national budget has not met the international requirements as recommended by UNESCO that at least 26 per cent of its annual budget should be for education. But we have not gone beyond 12 per cent and in implementation, we have not gone up to 7 per cent and this struggle has been left for ASUU alone for a very long time”.

According to Ekwe, Nigerians had erroneously believed that ASUU are trouble makers.

“But because they are in the education sector, they know the damage and the danger of what is going on and the longer they leave this, the more decay you have in the sector both in terms of infrastructure and manpower,” he said.

The NLC official said NANS is a strategic part of the labour movement because they are the children of the working people.

“We have maintained that more funding should be channelled to the education sector and our affiliate, ASUU, has done a deep research about sourcing or raising this fund, so I’m advising government to work at those document from ASUU and ensure they have the political will to implement,” he added.

The President of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) Bamidele Akpan lamented the dilapidated structures in the nation’s universities, adding that this has affected the quality of students been turned out by the institutions.