The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has accused the federal government of introducing various charges that will put university education out of reach for poor Nigerian students and their parents.
The union also expressed its opposition to the proposed introduction of education loans in the university system, which it claims has been a colossal failure in Nigeria and other countries where it has been implemented.
This was made known in a statement signed by ASUU president, Professor Emmanuel Osodeke, on Monday, December 5, 2022, after the union’s National Executive Council (NEC) meeting, which was held at the University of Calabar.
Osodeke accused the government of systematically disengaging from funding public universities, with the proponents of the student loan policy eager to foist it down the throat of Nigerians when they have done more to push Nigerians into poverty through sheer incompetence in handling the economic fortunes of the nation.
The big issue: The statement from ASUU partly reads,
‘’The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), at its National Executive Council (NEC) meeting, which was held at the University of Calabar, reviewed the current state of our struggle and resolved as follows:
NEC observed with concern the systematic disengagement of government from the funding of public universities through the proposed introduction of education loans, which has proven to be a monumental failure in our nation and some other countries where it was introduced.
We find it troubling that the proponents of the policy are so eager to foist it down the throat of Nigerians when they have done more to push the working people of this country into poverty through sheer incompetence in handling the economic fortunes of our nation.
The Union is disturbed by the surreptitious moves by the government to price university education beyond the reach of poor Nigerian students and their parents through the introduction of various charges. We commend student bodies that have seen through this ruinous path and are rising up to the challenge.’’
Anti-labour posture: He said, ‘’The Union calls the attention of Nigerians to the lingering issue of renegotiation of the 2009 FGN-ASUU Agreement, which was the initial issue that led to the just suspended strike. More worrisome is the increasing anti-labour posture of the government, suggestive of attempts to abrogate the principle of the collective bargaining agreement. NEC rejects in totality the government’s arrogant insistence on handing down an award instead of a bargained salary package.
‘’The meeting also reviewed and condemned the government’s attempt to casualize the job of intellectuals, as reflected in the pro-rated salaries paid to our members for the month of October 2022, as well as the continued withholding of our members salaries for the preceding eight (8) months, even when the backlog of the work are being covered by our members in various universities.
‘’ASUU calls on Nigerians of goodwill to, in the interest of our students and the nation, prevail on the Nigerian government to urgently address all outstanding issues contained in the December 2020 FGN-ASUU Memorandum of NEC, rejects with vehemence, the current attempts to impose master-slave treatment as mechanism for relating with Nigerian scholars under whatever guise by the ruling class. ASUU members are citizens, not slaves.’’