Muslim media group urges ASUU to call off strike

THE Muslim Media Watch Group of Nigeria (MMWG) has condemned the ongoing crisis between the federal government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).

It called on the ASUU and the federal government to shift ground to pave the way for resolution of the crisis in the interest of the nation.

In a statement signed by the National Coordinator, Alhaji Ibrahim Abdullahi, the MMWG said the tough stance of ASUU and the government would not help matters.

The group appealed to the ASUU to show patriotism by calling off the strike, as the government had accepted the new union-launched payment platform, namely the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS), with a marginal increase in the salaries of teachers.

According to the MMWG, negotiations on better wages and compliance with other parts of the 2009 agreement between the two entities can continue once the ongoing strike is resolved.

The group also called on the federal government to be magnanimous by waving the no-work-no-pay policy over the ongoing ASUU strike, pointing out that the matter was now delicate and could not be solved by taking a tough stance.

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It urged the government to pay the striking teachers their back wages as soon as they were back in service.

The group pointed out that ASUU’s seven-month strike was causing economic hardship for some Nigerians and undoing educational gains already made by the government.

Meanwhile, the MMWG has called on the federal government and the National Assembly to make serious economic crimes ineradicable and abolish plea bargaining in criminal justice.

Reflecting on what they called the serious economic crimes committed in the country, the group stated that as long as all such crimes were salvageable, corruption, economic crimes and insecurity would continue to permeate the nation’s system.

It called on the federal government and the Nigerian Law Reform Commission to set a bar for serious economic crimes, adding that suspects of such crimes must remain in custody until their cases are established.

“Granting bail for serious economic crimes gives suspects the ability to influence the judicial process in various ways and ultimately release themselves through such influence,” the group noted.

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The group also described plea bargaining as “a provision in our criminal justice system that encourages corruption and economic crimes, allowing a defendant to repay a certain portion of the loot and go home with the balance.”

It said some officials and government officials are “framing the nation and several state governments into believing that the huge sums stolen would pay them off in the long run, as plea negotiations are there for them.”

The group complained that many criminals had been released through the plea bargaining process, stressing that no fight against corruption could succeed in a country that “allows this dubious law”.

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