Top Story

SERAP drags FG to UN over ‘failure to end ASUU strike’

89

Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project has sent an urgent appeal to two UN special rapporteurs urging them to “prevail upon the government of President Muhammadu Buhari and the leadership of Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to reach an agreement to end the ongoing strike action by ASUU, which continues to have real and dire consequences on the right to higher education, specifically university education, as guaranteed by the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, to which Nigeria is a state party.”

In the urgent appeal dated 28 December 2018 and signed by SERAP senior legal adviser Bamisope Adeyanju, the organization said: “By failing to prevent and end the ongoing strike action by ASUU, the Nigerian government has defied and breached the explicit requirements of the right to equal access to higher education by Nigerian children and young people, under article 13(2)(c) of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.”

The urgent appeal sent to Ms. Koumbou Boly Barry, Special Rapporteur on the right to education and Professor Philip Alston, Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights argues that: “The failure by the Nigerian government to reach an agreement with ASUU has also implicitly made access to higher education a privilege of the rich and well-to-do rather than a right of every Nigerian child and young person, as students in private schools continue to attend classes while those in public universities stay at home. 

According to SERAP, “The failure to end the ongoing strike action by ASUU is also a fundamental breach of the right to higher education without discrimination or exclusion, as strike actions continue to penalise economically disadvantaged parents who have no means or lack the capacity to pay to send their children to private schools.

The urgent appeal read in part: “The obligations of the Nigerian government to create the conditions necessary for the enjoyment of the right to education include to take preventive measures to address the root causes of strike action by ASUU and to take steps to end any strike action in a timely manner when it occurs.”

“It is the responsibility of the government to preserve and strengthen education as a public good and a matter of public interest. Without the urgent intervention of the Special Rapporteurs, the ongoing strike action by ASUU would continue and this would continue to impede access to university education for the poor and marginalized.”

“SERAP is concerned that Nigerian students in public universities have suffered many years of academic disruption as a result of the failure of successive Nigerian governments to address the root causes of strike action by ASUU and to timely reach agreement to end strike action and its devastating consequences on the right to equal and quality higher education.”

“Persistent strike actions in the education sector have continued to cause disruption of classes and undermine both the quality and duration of students’ education.”

“We note that the right to strike is one of the fundamental means available to workers to promote their interests. However, we are seriously concerned that the failure by both the Nigerian government and ASUU to make substantial progress in negotiations and reach amicable settlement to end the unduly prolonged strike action has undermined the right of Nigerian children and young people to higher education.”

“The ongoing strike action by ASUU in Nigeria if not urgently addressed would continue to have grave consequences for the youth of our country as well as the country’s development and progress as a whole.”

“Universal access is an essential prerequisite for the exercise of the right to education. But the failure by the Nigerian government to end the strike action by ASUU has contributed to denying students from disadvantaged backgrounds equal access to university education, as these students are unable or lack the capacity to pay to access private schools.”

“This situation has aggravated existing disparities in access to university education in the country, further marginalizing economically disadvantaged parents and students.”

“SERAP believes that providing Nigerian children and young people equal access to higher education should be the core public service functions of the Nigerian government.  Providing public schools ranks at the very apex of the function of a State.”

“SERAP believes that equal access of Nigerian children and young people to quality and uninterrupted education including at the university level would contribute to producing citizens who are fundamentally equal and people who actively participate in society. It would enable people to enjoy the rights as well as fulfil obligations that are associated with citizenship.”

“According to our information, members of ASUU suspended their academic responsibilities in the first week of November 2018, and weeks of negotiations with the Nigerian government since then have yielded no amicable settlement or agreement. ASUU is alleging failure by the Nigerian authorities to implement 2009 agreement and the 2013 Memorandum of Understanding.”

“SERAP notes that article 13(2)(c) of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights explicitly guarantees the right to higher education, which includes university education. According to the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, states parties are required to make higher education including university education available on equal basis, and to ensure the progressive introduction of free education at all levels of education.”

“States parties including Nigeria have obligations to ensure that the liberty of providing education set out in article 13(4) of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights does not lead to extreme disparities of educational opportunity for some groups in society.”

“The rights and values enshrined in the Constitution of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) all point to the right to the provision of equal access to quality education including at the university level. These rights include human rights, such as the right to equality and the right to human dignity as well as numerous other civil and political rights, such as access to information, which cannot be properly understood or exercised if one is inadequately trained and uneducated.”

SERAP therefore urged the Special Rapporteurs to put pressure on the Nigerian government to:

  1. Take immediate action to end the deadlock in negotiations with ASUU and reach amicable settlement that would ensure that the universities are reopened without further delay and that students return to school;
  2. Increase funding and improve investments in infrastructure and innovation for public universities;
  3. Invest the most in those whose access to education is the most hampered;
  4. Declare education as an essential service in Nigeria to minimise the negative impact of strike action on the right to higher education, including university education

Leave a comment

Related Articles

Bello withdrew $720,000 from state account for his children’s school fees – EFCC Chair Olukoyede

Ex-governor of Kogi State, Mr. Yahaya Bello, withdrew $720,000 from the state...

Just in: EFCC arrests Ex-Aviation Minister Sirika over alleged N8bln fraud

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has arrested former Minister of Aviation,...

Breaking: Dana airline crash lands in Lagos 

A Dana airline has crash-landed at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja....

Regional counter-terrorism centre for intelligence sharing, operational coordination, a must – Tinubu

President Bola Tinubu made a case on Monday for the establishment of...

Fleeing Binance executive arrested in Kenya, faces extraction to Nigeria this week

Kenyan police authorities have reportedly apprehended Mr. Nadeem Anjarwalla, an executive associated...

Tinubu opens African Counter-Terrorism Summit in Abuja on April 22

President Bola Tinubu will open the African Counter-Terrorism Summit on Monday, April...

Breaking: Nigerian chess master Tunde Onakoya breaks world record for longest chess marathon

The Nigerian chess master, Tunde Onakoya, has set a new Guinness World...

Update: Nigeria Immigration Service has put former Gov. Yahaya Bello on the watchlist

More woes for the former Kogi State Governor, Mr. Yahaya Bello, as...

Tinubu directs overhaul of nation’s tiers of education system

President Bola Tinubu has approved the comprehensive overhaul of Nigeria’s educational system...

EFCC operatives allegedly barricade ex-Kogi Gov. Yahaya Bello’s Abuja residence

Operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) have allegedly barricaded...

Cubana Chief Priest arraigned in Lagos, gets N10m bail after pleading not guilty

Businessman and socialite, Pascal Okechukwu, popularly known as Cubana Chief Priest, was...

Pres. Tinubu launches National Single Window project, to generate annual $2.7bln revenue

“This initiative will link our ports, government agencies and key stakeholders, creating...

FG has rescued over 1,000 abductees without ransom payment — NSA Ribadu

The National Security Adviser, retired AIG Nuhu Ribadu, says the Federal Government...

Breaking: FG kicks start disbursement of N200bln palliative business loans

President Bola Tinubu administration’s promise to give the needed fillip to entrepreneurial...

Senate President to Police I-G: Rid Police Force of corrupt officers

“As we honour the good officers, let us weed out the bad...

Invasion of Oyo Govt Secretariat: Police parade 21 suspected Yoruba Nation agitators in Ibadan

The police in Ibadan paraded no fewer than 21 suspected Yoruba Nation...

Breaking: Emefiele gets N50m bail

A former Central Bank of Nigeria Governor, Godwin Emefiele, was on Friday...

EFCC to clampdown on schools, hotels, supermarkets, others dollarizing transactions

….vows to put in jail anyone found to be dollarizing the economy...

Breaking: Nigeria to get oil-backed $1bln Afreximbank loan in May

Nigeria is set to receive $1.05 billion from a syndicated loan backed...

Breaking: Court remands Binance executive in Kuje prison

A Federal High Court in Abuja has remanded Binance executive, Tigran Gambaryan,...