By Gabriel Dike

 

Worried by the continued closure of public universities in the country, the Education Writers’ Association of Nigeria (EWAN) on Monday staged a walk to Alausa to demand the reopening of the institutions.

 

The walk started at the Lagos State Television (LTV) early in the morning and took EWAN members through the major to the Governor’s office, Alausa.

 

Aside, from EWAN members, some stakeholders were part of the walk to Alausa to register their displeasure about the prolonged strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and the non-teaching staff.

 

Members of EWAN from different media organizations displayed a large banner and several placards with several inscriptions and distributed leaflets containing their demands to the public.

Ogunye and Mrs. Ogunde presenting EWAN’s letter to Wahab, SAE to the Governor during the walk to Alausa on Monday

At Alausa, EWAN members were received by top state government officials, including the Special Adviser on Education to the Governor, Mr. Tokunbo Wahab, a lawmaker with Lagos State House of Assembly, Mr. Ademola Kasumu while the convener of Concerned Parents of Educator (CPE), Mrs. Yinka and Lagos based legal practitioner, Mr. Jiti Ogunye addressed the gathering.

 

Addressing the government officials, the Chairman of EWAN, Mr. Mojeed Alabi, explained the mission of the Association, which is to present a letter to President Muhammedu Buhari through Governor Babajid Sanwo-Olu on the continued closure of universities due to ongoing strikes by academic and non-academic staff.

 

Mojeed said EWAN is concerned about the prolonged closure of public universities resulting in the students staying at home for months.

 

While handing over the letter to the Special Adviser on Education to the Governor, Mr. Tokunbo Wahab, he tasked him to present it Sanwo-Olu for onward transition to President Buhari.

 

The letter titled: “Continued closure of Nigerian universities: An open letter to President Buhari”, states that the association has watched with grave concern how Nigeria’s university system and the entire education sector continued to suffer neglect from successive administrations.

“Nigeria’s universities, like other academic institutions, have been abandoned to suffer infrastructural decay, dearth of facilities, poor teacher-student ratios, poor funding, and moral and academic corruption, which have been linked largely to the politicization of education in the country.

“More worrisome is the almost three-month prolonged strike by both academic and non-academic staff of the universities over the unresolved disagreement, and the dangerous silence of the government under your watch, ”EWAN noted.

The Association demanded the immediate reopening of the universities, improved budgetary allocation to education, end to the proliferation of academic institutions, end to the politicization of education, and the appointment of a competent hand as an education minister.

Addressing the gathering, Ogunye, who commended EWAN for the initiative, said Nigerians are also concerned about the current situation in public universities.

He acknowledged that public universities have collapsed but added the battle to restore the old glory is not lost, adding, “now Nigerian graduates who go abroad are subjected to another test unlike in the 60, 70s, and 80s.”

Ogunye called on President Buhari to tackle the rot in the education sector as well as meet the demands of the staff unions in the tertiary institutions.

In her contributions, the founder of CPE, Mrs. Ogunde, said Nigerian children deserved quality education at all levels, stressing, ‘’CPE is concerned that universities remained closed for months. It is time the administration tackle the issue of incessant strikes in our tertiary institutions.”

Ogunde joined other stakeholders to demand the reopening of public universities to allow students to resume academic activities, noting, “We call on the government to reopen the universities. Our children are tired of staying at home.’’

Receiving the letter on behalf of Speaker Lagos State House of Assembly, a lawmaker, Mr. Kasumu, said “I understand your plight about our children staying at home for months because of ASUU and other union strikes, we also worried.’’

He assured EWAN that the letter would be passed on to the speaker for urgent action, stating, “legislators would treat this letter as a matter of public importance. We appreciate your concern about the crisis in our universities and we are also worried about the situation.”

In his reaction, while receiving the letter on behalf of the governor, Wahab, said the administration feel the concern of EWAN and parents, whose wards have been at home for months because of the ongoing strike.

His words: I feel the pain of parents. For the past three years, universities have been shut down due to incessant by staff unions. I will deliver your letter to Governor Sanwo-Olu, it will be escalated. This is a noble initiative by EWAN.”

 

 

 

 

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Source: news