NLC embark on solidarity protest with ASUU in Delta

By Gabriel Elozino, Asaba

The Delta State chapter of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) on Tuesday, joined their counterparts in other parts of the country to embark on a solidarity protest with the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and other sister unions of the school.

The protest which saw the labour union members marched from its state secretariat at NTA road, through Okpanam road, to the State Government House along Anwai road, Asaba, was massively embraced by both its members and the general public.

Addressing newsmen at Government House on the purpose of the protest, the 1st Vice Chairman of NLC, Delta State, Comrade Ziko Okwudi said they were out to seek the state and federal governments’ intervention on the lingering ASUU strike.

He pointed out that the insensitivity of the government towards the strike action that has left university students at home for over five months and running, was degenerating by the day, adding that should NLC fails to intervene, there might no longer be anything relating to tertiary institutions in the country.

He explained that the union have decided to take the protest to the governors across the 36 states of the federation, as they are members of the Federal Executive Council and are well positioned to drive their demands.

While expressing optimism that the two-day protest would draw the government’s attention to a possible solution, he observed that the NLC was ready to embark on a nationwide strike and shut down the whole system in the country, should the government fails to act accordingly.

Also speaking, the State Chairman of ASUU, Prof Godwin Demaki thanked the NLC for joining the Union in a solidarity protest, saying it will encourage the union to continue to drive their legitimate demands.

He said, “the unions are not lawless, we are law abiding. We have been on this for over five months but it looks as if the government is not ready to listen to us. Not only that we are facing starvation because for the past five months now we have not been paid, and for no offence, just because we are reminding government to do their jobs.

Read Also: Obaseki tasks FG on ASUU strike

“Government is the owner of the Universities, the University is a universal community, and there are global best practices and we cannot do less. That is why we are using this opportunity to remind the government to sign and implement the 2009 Federal Government/ASUU agreement that has been renegotiated and apply the UTAS, the University Transparency and Accountability Solution, but government is not willing to discharge its obligations.”

Addressing the protesters, the Secretary to the Delta State Government, SSG, Chief Patrick Ukah commended the Union for the peaceful conduct of its members, pointing out that the solidarity rally was only a call that the time for both parties to listen to each other has come.

He said, “We have always known our labour to be well organized. I have one very good assurance for you on behalf of His Excellency that you know very well, there are so many forums where he can lend his voice to what you have come out here to do, and I know, the Governor you know had heard the voice of NLC Delta on behalf of ASUU.

“We all went to the Universities and we know it is continually not what we left and there was need for us to cry out. I know that ASUU is not saying all must be met but there must be some reasonable impact where we can meet ourselves halfway. We in Nigeria are very good listeners, this message will go to Abuja and I know the government will listen to ASUU this time.”

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