The Academic Union of Universities (ASUU) said the federal government’s refusal to fund education was a deliberate strategy to kill education in Nigeria.
The ASUU, the main union of university teachers at Nigerian universities, has been on strike since March over issues relating to staff welfare and funding for higher education in the country.
The union promised to set its next agenda if the federal government refused to negotiate its demands with it as planned.
The union’s national president, Biodun Ogunyemi, said so in Ilorin over the weekend of the town and gown meeting with parents, union leaders and alumni from universities in the country in the Africa Hall of the University of Ilorin.
He said the federal government, with the right mindset, could fund education in Nigeria, said giving banks a N80 billion bailout was a clear indication.
Professor Ogunyemi, who gave graphic details of the agreements ASUU had made with the federal government since 2009, said they had not yet been kept despite promises made to the union.
He said the federal government’s plans to kill education in Nigeria were to make education inaccessible to the poor, which had already been manifested by the increasing involvement of several average Nigerian youth in cyber crime, rituals, kidnapping and banditry, while the rich celebrate their children’s overseas graduation on social media.
“If the government refuses to negotiate, we will set our next agenda. Let’s wait and see. When we get there we will cross it.
“The current strike action by the scientists was necessary because the federal government deliberately refused to fund university education and the institutions of the country’s universities had to go into disrepair.
“There is a deliberate attempt to kill university education in the country. Some universities use ovens instead of burners and buckets in their laboratories to fetch water for experiments. It’s terrible.
“Check social media, you will see how they celebrate their kids who graduated from universities abroad. Therefore they are not ready to fund public universities, ”said the ASUU president.
He also stated that ASUU had signed an MoU with the federal government on the need to improve campus facilities, student welfare, academic advancement and welfare, which was neglected because “there were plans that Making education inaccessible to children of the poor, which is the case today, creating social vices like Yahoo-Yahoo, Yahoo-Plus, banditry and other criminal activity in society. “
While lamenting what he called the decline in the country’s university education, which he believed was caused by the government’s nonchalant attitude, the ASUU leader said, “Nigeria can fund free education if the government shows the right attitude towards education , blocks all leaks and curbs corruption. If the government can provide N80 billion to the banks as a bailout, why not the education sector? “
Former ASUU leaders, Professor Sule Abdullahi Kano and Professor Nasir Issa Fagge, in their separate remarks, urged parents, students and the public to see reasons for the ASUU.
“We urge you to support us and work with us to get out of the chaos in which the Nigerian education system finds itself,” he said.
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