The Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, on Tuesday, began its three-day nationwide warning protest in solidarity with the Academic Staff Union of University, ASUU in the ongoing strike by the Academic Staff Workers against President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government.
In Lagos, the protesters were led by NLC Chairman, Mrs Agnes Sessi, along with rights lawyer, Femi Falana(SAN), former NLC Vice President, comrade Issa Aremu, the Zonal Coordinator, ASUU, Lagos, Adelaja Odukoya, among others.
The protesters, who came in large numbers, on the early hours, converged at the under-bridge, Ikeja, and walked to the Lagos House, Alausa singing solidarity songs.
Speaking at the protest ground, Mr Femi Falana, said enough of incessant University strikes in the country and called on President Muhammadu Buhari to “collect money from the looters’ to solve the lingering issue between it and the academic workers.
Falana, commended the NLC for staging the protest and coming out in large numbers to support ASUU.
“I commend the Nigeria Labour Congress for bringing out all workers today to protest against the insensitivity of our junkenting president As we are here now, he is on his way to Liberia to deliver a speech.
“The President is tired, he has said he is eager to go back to Katsina. We are asking him to rush back home.
“Boko Haram boys have taken over Nigeria. We are telling the government enough is enough. Enough of killing of our people, enough of strikes in our tertiary institutions,” he said.
“We want to thank the workers. What you have demonstrated today is your capacity to take power in Nigeria and you must be ready.
“You must be prepared to snatch powers from the enemies of our people. About 400 of them took loans from our banks, we called them toxic loans, about N5.4 trillion.
“This government is saying it wants to spend N6.5trillion on importation of PMS, we are saying this is corruption and unacceptable.
President Buhari should collect money from 10 of the looters to resolve this issue of ASUU. One person stole N109 billion and there are those who have stolen more,” he further stated.
Odukoya lamented that Nigerian lecturers are the least paid in the world and the fallen standard of education in Nigeria as a result of the incessant strikes.
“A professor in Nigeria is earning N460 after tax, that is bad and shameful. We can not continue like this.
“Our universities are no longer attractive and competitive. This government has continued to. We are here in solidarity to ensure this government does the needful.
“We are tired of being at home and strike is the last option for us. We have an irresponsible and uncaring government.
“The government that cares about its people must invest in education, especially university education. This protest is for the struggle of the soul of this country,” he said.
Waheed Majekodunmi of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities, SSANI, called on the federal government to honour its agreement with ASUU and treat all university workers equally
“For the past five months, our students have been at home. The federal government should honour the gentle agreement.
“We need equal treatment for all University workers. We want the reward for our work in this life, not the life thereafter,” Majekodunmi stated.
Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, represented by the state Commissioner for Establishments, Training and Pensions, Mrs Ajibola Ponle, who received the protesters and their letter, on behalf of the Governor, commended the protesters for conducting themselves peacefully during the protest.
She assured them that the governor would deliver their message to the President for appropriate action.
“Mr Governor is unavoidably absent due to urgent state matters. He conveys his best wishes to you all and thank you for this peaceful protest,” Ponle stated.