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  • Updated: May 20, 2024

ASUU decries neglect of demands by past administrations

ASUU decries neglect of demands by past administrations

The Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, has decried the neglect of demands of the union by the past administrations, calling on the Tinubu-led administration to attend to the yearnings of the union.

The Zonal Coordinator of ASUU in Akure Zone, Dr Adeola Egbedokin, stated this at a news conference on Monday at the Federal University of Technology, Akure, FUTA.

Akure zone of ASUU comprises Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, FUTA,Ekiti State University, Ado Ekiti; Federal University, Oye Ekiti and  University of Medical Sciences, Ondo.  

Egbedokun explained that the lingering crises that led the union’s members to down toll in 2022  were yet to be addressed. 

He said that the ruling class in the country did not care whether universities thrived or not, adding that the nonchalant attitude had forced many committed academics to seek greener pastures in climes where academics were treated well.

The zonal coordinator called on the President Tinubu-led administration to immediately set in motion the process leading to the review and signing of the Nimi Briggs-led renegotiated draft agreement of 2021 as assured hope for public universities.

Egbedokun added that it was only concrete steps by the government to restore the eroded dignity and degraded lives of ASUU members that could guarantee lasting peace in public universities in the country.

According to him, the government should always respect the laws and regulations establishing universities and not wait for the union’s threat before reconstitution of governing councils in federal universities.

He also demanded immediate lifting of the embargo on university employment by the Federal Government that had persisted for years.

The zonal coordinator added that the union had consistently rejected the IPPIS platform of salary payment of the union’s members because it violated the autonomy of universities.

“ASUU’s position remains unchanged: Government should revert to quarterly releases of university funds to enable the institutions to design and implement their salary payment plans under the supervision of their governing councils.

“In the interest of industrial harmony, the government should direct the immediate release of all outstanding deductions, unpaid promotion arrears and salaries of university academics which were unjustly withheld by the corruption-ridden IPPIS regime,” he stated. 

Egbedokun called on the National Universities Commission, NUC, to join forces with the union on quality teaching, learning, research and community service in Nigerian universities rather than creating debilitating academic programmes. 

He tasked the government to increase the funding of universities between 15 per cent and 20 per cent of the annual budget in line with world standards, frowning at the reduction of TETFund’s intervention in public universities due to adequate funds to the agency from the Federal Government.

“The Federal Government recently decided to further reduce the resources available for TETFUND intervention by channelling the available funds to the agency to the Students Education Loan Scheme.

“This is antithetical to the law establishing the Education Tax Fund which now operates as TETFund. Grants from TETFund as an intervention agency should not be taken as a replacement for the statutory budgetary allocations by Federal and state governments meant for capital and recurrent expenditures in public universities.

“So, we enjoin the Federal Government not to divert TETFund resources to funding of any controversial loan so as not to water down the impacts of its intervention.

“Governments, both federal and state, should rise to their responsibilities of adequate funding to arrest the emergent rot and decay that becoming more noticeable in the campuses of Nigeria’s public universities in spite of the intervention efforts of TETFund,” he stated.

Egbetokun vowed that the union would continue to speak up in order to ensure that public universities become centres of excellence.

He, however, said that if the insensitive stance of the government continued and the union’s members were pushed to the wall, Nigerians should not blame the union for industrial unrest.

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