Renowned legal practitioner Chief Thompson Joseph Okpoko, SAN, today said the Academic Staff Union of Universities’ (ASUU) seven months strike is an action taken too far.
He urged ASUU to take the green leaves to them and negotiate with the Federal Government.
Chief Okpoko made the assertion during a chat with our correspondent at his Warri, Delta State, chamber.
According to him, “If they negotiate, they reach an agreement, let them put it in writing with the federal government in a memo and if the government does not comply with what they want, then, they should consult their lawyer to see what they can do using the law against government because government is bound to obey the law.”
While noting that ASUU are the creators of the next generation, Chief Okpoko said if they decide not to teach again, the Nigerian university system will crash.
“If ASUU insists on striking for eternity, students will not go to school. Then, you have dropouts. The female will become pregnant, premature mothers. The result is that you are breeding poverty upon poverty, and then of course, the insecurity we are talking about will multiply.
“We have cases of students who are on strike now being armed robbers, being kidnappers and so on. And of course, you saw the demonstrations in Lagos that they’re blocking the road. What has the road user got to do with the grievance of ASUU members? They’re transferring their aggression against the government to the ordinary man and who is this ordinary man? Their fathers and especially those who are working to pay their school fees. So, they have extended it too much.”
Okpoko said the Nigerian students can protest against the government to settle the dispute with ASUU.
He noted that the students can appeal to their lecturers to take them into account, considering the effects the strike would have on them with the assurances of pressurising their parents to pressurise the politicians to do something.
He, however, stressed that ASUU should have the maturity of teachers and lecturers of the olden days to resolve the matter.
He also blamed the Federal Government for not making adequate budgetary allocations for the education ministry.
Chief Okpoko concluded that Nigerians should learn to do things in an orderly manner for the nation to move forward.