Resolve Varsity Strike Now, TUC Tells FG

 Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja 

As concerns mount over the continued closure of the country’s federal universities, the Trade Union Congress (TUC) has demanded immediate action by the federal government to end the dispute with striking university workers and re-open the institutions shut down close to six months now.

The union expressed alarm over the deteroriating state of insecurity in the country, urging President Muhammadu Buhari to act decisively and prevent a situation where terrorists and bandits will become an occupation force.

It also expressed opposition to the planned privatization of government-owned hospitals, saying the move will worsen the hardship and sufferings the citizens are going through.

Addressing journalists at the end of its National Executive Council (NEC) meeting in Abuja on Friday, TUC President, Festus Osifo, expressed dismay over the lingering face-off between the federal government and university-based unions which has resulted in the complete shutdown of the institutions nationwide.

He said that the school closure is becoming an embrassement to the country’s image.

“You will agree with me that where there is a will, there is always a way.  Recently, the Nigerian government spent about N1.4 billion to buy vehicle and donate to the Government of Niger.

“The kind of profligacy we have in government is too much. If government is serious, I can tell you that they will resolve this issue of ASUU within 48 hours. 

“So it is not about the finances. How much do we pay today as far as fuel subsidy is concerned? And how much of that money actually gets to the masses? How much of that money is actually spent on us? 

“Today, if you see what goes through the budget. If you see the different budget heads. So it is a value that is placed on education. The value that is placed on our university system. That is why we are here today,” he said.

On insecurity, TUC said that the federal government should stop lamenting and take decisive action to arrest the dangerous situation.

Usifo further said that TUC x-rayed the poor state of the economy, especially growing expenditure on fuel subsidy. 

He said that the union believes that the huge spending on fuel subsidy could be curtailed if the country’s porous border is blocked.

According to him, a huge amount of money will be saved from curtailing subsidy and it can be used to fix our education sector. 

“So this shows that out of the trillions of naira we spent on subsidy, a substantial part of it ends up in subsidizing the entire West Africa sub region.  If the only thing government can do is to manage the border or secure the border, you are going to reduce the quantity of products  that we consume on a daily basis,” he said. 

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