The Joint Action Front held a protest in Lagos penultimate week.
Two weeks after its protest grounded vehicular traffic in Lagos, a coalition of civil society groups has said it is moving its protest to Calabar to save public education from “total collapse.”
The Joint Action Front (JAF), the organizers of the protest, said that the “zonal” protest, which would hold on Tuesday, is a vehicle to ensure that education is a right in a polity where “government is irresponsible.”
Tuesday’s rally at the Freedom Park in Calabar would also serve as a build-up towards a nationwide mass protest that will become inevitable if the government remains insensitive, according to the organizers.
Abiodun Aremu, JAF’s Secretary, said that the “latest disinformation” by the federal government on its readiness to release N130 billion to meet the demands of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) should be disregarded.
“The federal government’s plot is to deceive the public that it is offering ASUU a lifeline,” said Mr. Aremu.
“This is not correct because ASUU is not making fresh demands. ASUU is simply demanding that the federal government should implement to the letter the terms of the 2009 agreement,” Mr. Aremu added.
The federal government and ASUU, in 2001, entered into an agreement which aimed to resuscitate Nigeria’s university system. Among the terms of the agreement included a periodic review and renegotiation, every three years, for impact assessment and implementation.
Due to lapses largely on the part of the federal government, renegotiation didn’t take place until 2007 and lasted for two years, culminating in the 2009 agreement.
The agreement in 2009 comprised a sufficient funding (a minimum of 26 percent of total budget to be allocated to education; review of laws impinging on university autonomy; and improved allowances to lecturers, among others.
It was gathered that a total of N1.5 trillion, to be spread over three years starting from 2009, was also agreed upon by both parties.
“As at date, JAF makes bold to state that the federal government has refused to implement the (2009) agreement, whose funding component ought to have been concluded in 2011,” said Mr. Aremu.
“Instead, what the federal government tries to smartly cover up and deceive the general public in the guise of government being broke, is to provide N100 billion out of the agreed N1.51 trillion.
“The other N30 billion the federal government said it has also approved is said to be for the earned allowances of N92 billion it owed. This is the fallacy of the N130 billion the federal government claimed it has approved for immediate release,” Mr. Aremu added.