The Rivers State chapter of the Nigerian Labour Congress(NLC) has alleged persons who benefited from free education from the government are currently killing public schools in the country.

The state chapter of the union spoke on Tuesday during a solidarity protest against the prolonged closure of public universities following the ongoing strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).

The protesters, who dressed in black NLC crested vests and caps, were joined in the protest by ASUU, NUPENG, NASU, NANS, PASAN, Health workers union, Maritime workers union, NUJ among others.

Rivers NLC chairperson, Beatrice Itubo, who led the protest to the Rivers Government House gate warned that there would be total shutdown of work in the state if the government fails to address the demands of ASUU.

According to her: “Unfortunately, those who enjoyed free education are the same people who have come and have decided to kill the same system that brought them to the apex and it is an aberration. That is exactly why today the Nigerian workers in conjunction with the Civil society organisations and the students of Nigeria have come to say no to this.

“So we are here to send a strong message and that is if schools are not open there would be no election and let them not mistake it to mean that they will stay in office a day at the expiration of their tenure.

“We are dismayed by the FG’s paralysis and reluctance to take the necessary steps that will lead to the peaceful resolution that will end the strike”.

In his remarks, the Chairman, Rivers State Civil Society Organization (CSO), Georgewill Enefaa, said their members would work with labour, market women to close commercial activities all over the country if ASUU strike continued.

He said: “Our call is clear and it is that government officials that sent their wards and children to Europe to study have no justification to close down tertiary institutions in Nigeria.

“A government offical who gets jumbo pay as a salary lack the moral right to close our Universities and even those that open do not have equipment.”

The Rivers State President National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), Levi Okoru, said the student body would ensure that there would be if the parties involved in the strike failed to resolve their differences.

Permanent Secretary, Special Services from the Office of the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Dr. George Nweke said the message would be sent to the governor.

Addressing the protesters, he said: “Your agitation is not about the workers’ welfare, it is about the welfare of everyone, especially the Nigerian students who have been acclaimed as one of the best in every part of the world you find them. I want to tell you that the message will go down well.”