Noah Ebije, Kaduna
Academic Staff Union of Universities Kaduna State University branch (ASUU-KASU) has bemoaned state of universities in the country as a result of COVID-19 challenges.
The ASUU-KASU noted that Ivory Towers are at crossroads because no public university can meet the requirements of facilties needed to observe the COVID-19 protocols leading to reopening of schools.
In a press statement jointly signed by the Chairman and Secretary of the branch Union, Comrade Tukur Abdulkadir and Comrade Peter Adamu, also noted that public universities could neither boast of infrastructure for online teaching nor e-learning.
“The position of ASUU-KASU is that as at today, no public university, can meet the requirements of facilties needed to observe the COVID-19 protocols, neither can they boast of infrastructure for impactful online teaching or meaningful e-learning.
“ASUU’s insistence on implementation of the 7th February, 2019 MoA is to create the atmosphere required by the NCDC guidelines and e-learning infrastructure, among other things, in Nigerian universities.
“Compatriots, we are at a crossroad in the country and the proclivity of the Nigerian ruling class, irrespective of their divide, have plunged us all into this quagmire. We must continually track, engage and resist their excesses for the survival of Public University education and the country at large.
“ASUU-KASU as a union acknowledges the understanding and support demonstrated by patriotic Nigerian students and parents. As we continue in this struggle, it is our hope and desire that the Nigerian government will play its role in the implementation of the agreements it willingly signed.
“We will never abandon our obligation to ensure the survival of a sound University system in Nigeria.
“As you are aware, our strike action which commenced 10th of March, 2020 is now in its 26th week. The goal of the total, comprehensive and indefinite strike is to get government to meaningfully address ASUU’s demands for revitalization funds for public universities, EAA, renegotiation of the 2009 Agreement, visitation panels to universities, and proliferation of state universities and governance issues in them.
“These demands were agreed upon, with timelines, by the Nigerian government in the Memorandum of Action (MOA) it signed willingly with ASUU on 7th February2019.
“The question as to why ASUU like embarking on strike actions has been asked time and again. The straight forward answer is that ASUU is strongly convinced that if academics fail to fight the cause of university education, the fate that befell public primary and secondary schools would soon become the lot of the public university system in Nigeria.
“It is also worthy to note here that ASUU as a union does not derive pleasure in the disruption of academic calendar nor hinder students from graduation on time. The strike action is always the union’s last resort after exhausting all other options.
“Instead of government to address our demands, it is sad that the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation (OAGF) is misleading the general public from the core issues contained in the FGN-ASUU
agreement of 7″ February, 2019 by emphasizing solely on IPPIS”.
ASUU-KASU pointed out some of the outstanding issues in the crisis to include, “Provision of a platform by the federal government for ASUU to engage State Governors on the proliferation of Universities, underfunding of University
education and undue interference in the affairs of State Universities.
“Strengthening the Consultative Committee on State-owned Universities (CCSOU), inaugurated on Monday, 28th January, 2019 to look into the issues of proliferation, underfunding and governance to consistently deliver on its mandate.
“Provision of documented guidelines on procedures and roles of parties in the process of renegotiating FGN-ASUU Agreement of 2009 which would commence not later than 18th February 2019 and end by Friday 29th March 2019.
“Pending issues in Kaduna State University stem from undue interference in the governance structure of the University as can be seen in various folds and include
among others, “60% outstanding September, 2017 salary payment: Despite the conclusion of classes, conduct of examination, submission and processing of results after the 2017 strike action, the salaries of academics have not being paid.
“Discrepancies in Salary Payment from October 2019 to Date due to migration to BATMIS, Kaduna State’s version of IPPIS. Non-payment of SIWES supervision allowance.
“All of these issues and more have eroded the autonomy of the University and affected the smooth operation of Kaduna State University”. The statement said.