The Social Sciences Students Association of Nigeria (SOSSAN) has called on the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration to put an end to the ongoing strike action by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) so that academic activities can resume.
In an open letter jointly signed by Ini Ogenecaro, the National Chairman, and Cyprian Precious, the National Secretary of the association, the students urged the government to use the looted funds recently recovered from corrupt public office holders to sort out the lecturers’ union.
SOSSAN further queried the Buhari-led government if his administration was gaining anything by allocating approximately 21 percent of the administration’s tenure to the ASUU strike and disruption of the educational process.
The body also condemned the decline in the allocation of fund for education since the emergence of the Buhari's administration.
It said out of over N55trillion budgeted by the Buhari administration in 7 years, only 6% was budgeted for education sector, some of which was also laundered by public office holders.
A statement from the body reads, “It has inversely exceeded the borders of civilisation. How the said giant of Africa is reckoned with poverty and, at worse, a poor educational system. The latter shows there cannot be hope for an escape from poverty.
“The National Body of Social Sciences Students would love to rhetorically ask, what socio-economic gains have been weighed by your led government that has informed your administration to allocate approximately 21 percent of your administration’s tenure so far to the ASUU Strike and disruption of our educational process? We want to continue learning.
“We want to avoid being called lazy youths. We want a conducive learning environment. We want our lecturers to deliver optimally. The pending ASUU strike has no doubt been an impediment to the learning process of over one million young Nigerians for 98 days.
“We have taken to the streets across the nation to protest the lackadaisical attitude of your government towards the need for an end to the ongoing ASUU strike. This has completely diminished the glimmer of hope and the aspirations of these young Nigerians.
“We believe your administration should put forth no excuse for its failure to bring the ASUU strike to an end because it is no news that there is a proliferation of looting taxpayers’ money and public revenue under your administration respectively.
“In other evaluations, there has been a decline in the percent of funds allocated for education since the emergence of your administration. This shows the level at which your administration has prioritised education.
“Out of over N55trillion budgeted in seven years, only N3.5trillion has gone to education so far. Tentatively, since we see a proliferation of money laundering, it can be asserted that basically, much of the funds budgeted for education are being looted as well.
“But until such an assertion is proven true, the allocated funds still do not commensurate with the standard UNESCO recommendation for a developing economy’s budget for education by half.
“To talk of the hazard of the strike on the nation’s economy doesn’t require statistical evaluation because it is visible to the blind that the growing ejection of young Nigerians to study abroad is on a trajectory engineered even by the political elites.
“We pray that more attention is given to the educational sector by: Revitalising the infrastructure of the universities' learning environment; improving the welfare of lecturers; creating an enabling economy for graduates and students across the nation; at least allocating 15 to 20 percent of the nation’s budget to the educational sector; creating a knowledge-driven economy through academic, social, and scientific research; following through on the agreement reached between ASUU and the federal Government.”