Human Rights activist and Lagos lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), has advised the federal government against inviting former President Olusegun Obasanjo to mediate in the lingering Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) strike, saying the move would be counter-productive.
Instead, Falana advised the federal government to urgently reorder its priority and provide adequate funds to the universities.
He said such approach would compel ASUU to end the strike.
In a statement issued in Lagos on Tuesday titled: “The Federal Government Should Stop ASUU Strike Now!,” Mr. Falana recalled that under the administration of Mr. Obasanjo, universities were shut down for six months but instead of providing funds for the universities to operate at an enhanced level, the former president and his deputy, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar awarded licences for establishment of “private” universities to themselves.
The former president and his deputy are owners of Bells University of Technology, Ota, in Ogun State and American University of Nigeria (formerly ABTI-American University), in Yola, Adamawa State respectively.
Falana cautioned that the impression should not be created that the ASUU strike had been allowed to drag on for so long because top government officials had their children and wards in private schools at home and abroad, just as he described as “abnormal”, government’s claim that it did not have adequate funds to meet the demands by the striking lecturers.
He said, “The Minister of Finance and the coordinator of the country’s economy, Mrs. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has made President Goodluck Jonathan to believe that the economy would collapse if the federal government implements the 2009 FG/ASUU Agreement. Did Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala and Mr. Lamido Sanusi not say that the economy would collapse if the illegal price of N141 per litre of petrol was not sustained? When the Nigerian people forced the federal government to reduce the price to N97 did both voodoo economists resign like their counterparts would have done in the Brettonwood institutions?”