Abuja - The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has been told to call of its strike now in its fourth month in the interest of the nation.
The National President of the Tax Payers’ Association of Nigeria (TAPAN), Thomas Ilukholo, made the call at a news conference on Sunday in Abuja.
He described the strike as worrisome, noting that no meaningful development could take place in any nation if the education system was weak and ineffective.
“As we are all aware, education is the bedrock of national development; no meaningful development can take place in any nation if the education system was weak and ineffective.”
“It is in the light of this that we find the current face-off between the Federal Government and ASUU as worrisome.”
“We agree with ASUU totally that there is a pervading infrastructure decay in our academic institutions.”
“We are also of the conviction that there is a need for a conducive environment to be created for teaching, learning and sound research work in our universities.”
“However, it is our candid opinion that trading blames will not solve the current impasse between ASUU and Federal Government.”
He called on both parties to come to a compromise, to address the situation with a view to moving the nation forward.
The TAPAN president appealed to the Federal Government to meet the terms of the agreement it signed with ASUU so that the lecturers could go back to the classroom.
According to him, the continuous payment of salaries to the lecturers, even when they are not working is a waste of tax payers’ resources.
He argued that since the lecturers were not rendering any service as it were, there should be no payment of salaries to them.
On the proposed national dialogue, Ilukholo urged Nigerians not to see the dialogue as a political issue but an issue that concerned all Nigerians irrespective, of tribal, religious and ethnic sentiments.
He urged Nigerians be actively involved in the dialogue because it would be conveyed with tax payers` money.
Ilukholo, however, advised that the outcome of the dialogue should be subjected to the National Assembly to give it legislative backing.
According to him, if this is not done, the outcome of the exercise will be of no effect.
He further advised that the final outcome of the dialogue should also be subjected to a referendum by the Nigerian people.
“This is because the dialogue is for the people and will be funded by the people who are the tax payers.”
Ilukholo expressed optimism that the dialogue would ensure the coming together of Nigerians to discuss major challenges confronting the country, with a view to finding lasting solutions.
He said that although some politicians were speaking against the dialogue, Nigerians should see it as an avenue where they could air their mind.
“As an association, we believe that the time has come for Nigerians to come together to discuss the future of the nation.”
“Let us freely air our views on issues agitating our minds, the fear, the frustration and the kind of nation we aspire to have,” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that ASUU had been on strike since the past four months, due to non-implementation of some aspects of its agreement with the Federal Government.