The school teachers of Nigeria will come out in solidarity with their colleagues who teach in colleges and universities if their three month long dispute is not settled in the next two weeks. The President of the National Union of Teachers (NUT), Michael Olukoya, described the strike by ASUU, the lecturers' union as, "Nationalistic, patriotic and self-sacrificing." He went on, “We will not hesitate to shut down the education system in the country, if the government fails to fulfil or honour the agreement it entered into with the lecturers."

This is the latest round in a long struggle in Nigeria for proper funding for education and against corporate reform, including privatisation. The lecturers are on indefinite strike, demanding that the government honours its promise made in 2009, to fund higher education properly. The government is pleading lack of funds and yet Nigeria is an oil rich nation, from which multinational corporations like Shell are reaping megaprofits, while often despoiling the environment and immesarating populations like those in the Delta region of the country. Politicians however generally send their own children to foreign universities and private schools.

The situation in the school sector is no better than that in higher education. Many teachers in the country do not even receive the $114 a month minimum salary - yet they are having to cope with huge class sizes, poor or non-existent resources and, in parts of the country, ongoing sectarian violence. Many teachers have been forced to strike over the last year, just in order to get the miserable salaries which are owed to them. And in an extraordinary event in Rivers State earlier this week, police attacked 13,000 newly recruited teachers who had come to the stadium in Port Harcourt to collect their letters of posting - on the spurious grounds that they were suspected of organising a protest against the government. This is typical of the way that both teachers and any perceived dissent is treated in the country. Last April for instance, teachers in Benue State were attacked by the police when protesting for the minimum wage.

Students are also taking part in protests over increases in tuition fees as well as demanding that the government resolves the ASUU strike by honouring their agreement to fund higher education. There is a mass movement to defend and fund public education in Nigeria, which has been led by teachers, lecturers and students - with much support from other unions as well as communities. Teachersolidarity is convinced that this is the way to achieve the so-called Millennium Development Goal of Education For All - not through the bad offices of the World Bank, which has just put $1 billion into further oil exploration in the country, which promises yet more profits to the one per cent of largely foreign investors, while education bleeds to death for lack of funds.