1 The Coalition of Professional Women in Politics (COPWIP) on Thursday appealed to the Federal Government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to urgently resolve issues between them and end the ongoing lecturers’ strike.
2 COPWIP is a civil society group promoting the participation of female professionals in politics and demanding good governance.
3 The Convener and National Coordinator, COPWIP, Mrs Atinuke Agbaje-Owolabi, in a statement made available to the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos, said ending the strike would ward off negative consequences.
4 Agbaje-Owolabi said education is the bedrock for any meaningful development, to keep youths positively engaged and keep vices, crime and criminality away.
5 She said the less privileged in the nation were feeling the negative impacts of the strike more because they use their meagre earnings to send their children to universities in Nigeria.
6 According to her, such people cannot afford foreign schools.
7 She called for drastic measures to address the impasse between the federal government and ASUU which had prolonged the strike.
8 “ASUU has been on strike for months and these university students have been neglected without their future being cared for. The students are our children and are the ones suffering for it,” she said.
9 She appealed to the federal government to make the issue of education a priority and halt humanitarian donations to other countries, to ensure the nation’s students returned to school.
11 She said the other countries Nigerians were migrating to in search of quality knowledge cherished and do not joke with tertiary institutions.
12 “Here in Nigeria, we neglect our educational sector and run abroad for medicals and vacations.
13 “The country is already experiencing brain drain because the youth that are meant to come up with different innovations have decided to seek greener pastures in other countries.
14 “We as mothers and professional women in politics believe that politics is all about ensuring an egalitarian society that must be conducive for all the citizens, but the irony is what is obtainable here in Nigeria.
15 “The rich are becoming richer while the poor are becoming poorer. The gap between the rich and poor is so wide and is seriously affecting the nation,” she said.
16 She said that the coalition was planning a workshop tagged: “Skill Mobility and Brain Drain in a Developing Economy”, to address critical issues in the education sector affecting youths and the nation.
17 Also, the Co-convener of COPWIP, Mrs Zainab Ikaz-Kassim, said future generations would demand answers from political leaders for inactions toward ending strikes and the rot in the educational sector.
18 She said the ongoing ASUU strike was leaving trails of irreversible consequences and appealed to government to prioritise the welfare and payment of all ASUU members to return students to school.
19 The co-convener said the government would not have tolerated strike in the oil and gas downstream sector or any other industry this long, as such, education, which is the most important sector, should be accorded priority.
20 “All parties involved should come together to ensure that all issues are resolved and students are allowed to return to university to complete their education,” she said.
21 ASUU has been on strike since Feb. 14.