Desmond Mgboh, Kano
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has called attention to the proliferation of new tertiary institutions, particularly universities, without adequate funding provision for the existing ones by the government .
ASUU’s zonal coordinator, Dr. Mahmud Muhammad Lawan, highlighted the issue during a press conference by the Kano zone of the union, held after its meeting at the Bayero University, Kano, yesterday.
The zone comprises Bayero University, Kano; Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria; Kaduna State University, Kaduna; Kano State University of Science and Technology Wudil; Maitama Sule University, Kano and Sule Lamido University, Keffin Hausa, Jigawa State.
Lawan explained that it was agreed in the memorandum of action, signed in September 2017, that the government should present a memo to the National Economic Council and National Council of States in order to draw attention of state governors to the problems of the proliferation of new tertiary institutions without adequately funding the existing ones.
He recalled that on account of funding issues, states such as Ogun, Ondo, Oyo, Edo, Gombe and Bayelsa States had to downsize the university workforce, via transfer to state ministries, non-payment of university staff for several months and even sacking large numbers of ASUU members; as was the case in Kogi Satate University (KSU) Anyigba .
Lawan also called attention to collapsed renegotiation exercise between the union and the Federal Government, blaming the chairman of the Federal Government team, Dr. Wole Babalakin (SAN) for the fruitlessness of their efforts.
He explained that ASUU had no option than to pull out of the re-negotiation, “due to the unwarranted arrogance of Babalakin.” He alleged that Babalakin disregarded the principles of collective bargaining, delayed the process, relegated other members of his team, and arrogated to himself the power of decision-making. He also recalled that Babalakin’s position in the course of the meetings focused on introducing a tuition regime for the students, and an education bank for public universities in Nigeria, which ASUU found totally unacceptable.
given that by the constitution of Nigeria, education is a right and a public good, which must be provided for its citizens by the Nigera state.
He accused the political class of not paying serious attention to the significant place of education in the improvement of the living standards of Nigerians, while requesting well-meaning Nigerians to prevail on the Federal Government to return to the negotiation table, and conclude the negotiation of 2009 ASUU/FG agreement, as well as address the outstanding issues in the 2017 memorandum of agreement.