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ASUU decries state of the nation, says Nigeria has drifted to a frightening precipice

THE Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), has decried the present state of the nation, saying that the country’s ship has drifted to ‘a frightening precipice’.

“It amounts to stating the obvious to say the ship of our nation has drifted to a frightening precipice. We seem to be losing grip in virtually all key areas of our national life such as education, health, economy, and security,” said Biodun Ogunyemi, President of ASUU during a press conference in Abuja on Tuesday.

Ogunyemi lamented that the parlous state of the Nigerian economy has been worsened by unanticipated COVID-19 lockdown, leading to another inescapable bout of recession.

He said the recent rise in the unemployment rate in the country has worsened the rate of crime and insecurity currently bedeviling the country.

While condemning the recent face-off between the executive and legislative arms of government over the 774,000 temporary workers recruitment, the ASUU president also berated the monumental corruption being unveiled from various departments, agencies and ministries of government.

“Recent data from the National Bureau of Statistics indicate that the rates of crime and criminality have not only increased in the last one year, but are likely to further rise with the increasing rates of unemployment and underemployment. For instance, Nigeria’s unemployment rate jumped from 23.1 per cent in 2018 to 27.1 per cent by the second quarter of 2020; indicating that as many as 21.7 million Nigerians are unemployed,” he said.

“The unwarranted squabbles over who superintends the employment of some 774,000 temporary workers between the executive and legislative arms of government have also not done much to rekindle hope in the ordinary and helpless Nigerians. This cannot be otherwise with the unimaginable level of looting and diversion of our patrimony by elected and appointed government officials.”

He also attributed the rising insecurity to the problem of unemployment, saying that the intractable insurgency in the North East, banditry, herders, farmers’ clash as well as inter and intra-community warfare, and ethnic militia attacks have made nonsense of Nigeria’s security architecture.

Ogunyemi reiterated that the responsibility of government is to protect the citizens.

“The duty to protect citizens is the basis for legitimacy of any state or government. The fundamental objective of any state is to ensure security of lives and property for all people living within its territory. We call on the Nigerian government to live to its responsibility as captured in Chapter 2, section 14(b) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) which states that “The security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government,” he said.

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“A situation where regional authorities and groups have to resort to self-help is symptomatic of a failing state and it may be a recipe for anarchy.”

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