The Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, has said that Universities clamouring for the re-opening of Nigeria Universities are those serving as cash cows to some governments.
It would be recalled that the National Coordinator, Congress of University Academics (CONUA), Dr ‘Niyi Sunmonu, on Saturday said its members were ready to resume work.
CONUA was an association of lecturers from five universities following cracks in the Association of Senior Staff of Universities (ASUU).
The new Union was announced at the end of its stakeholders’ forum at Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) in October 2019.
AMILOADED had earlier reported that members of the CONUA who are lecturers from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife; Ambrose Alli University (AAU), Ekpoma; Federal University, Oye Ekiti (FUOYE); Federal University, Lokoja (FUL) and Kwara State University (KWASU), Molete said they are ready to resume.
Reacting to the development, the ASUU Coordinator of Calabar zone, Dr Aniekan Brown of the Department of Sociology & Anthropology, University of Uyo (UNIUYO) who made the assertion while briefing newsmen Monday in Uyo, said the Universities clamouring for reopening of Nigeria Universities are those serving as cash cows to some governments.
He stressed the need for members of the public to know that it was unreasonable to contemplate re-opening universities because the facilities to ensure the safety and lives of students, lecturers are not in place.
Brown maintained that the COVID-19 pandemic actually exposed the vulnerability and frailties of the country in the different sectors of the economy especially the Education sector as Nigeria Governments have ingloriously exhibited gross inability to meet the standards set by COVID-19 advisories in the country’s public schools.
He explained that Nigeria universities would have recorded the expected development in infrastructure, promotion of researches and that this pandemic would not have taken the country unawares this much if the Government had kept its own side of the 2013 agreement it had with ASUU.
His words, “But government has reneged on that agreement as we speak. Let’s be fair, if you know the total number of students that take certain courses and then you take that side by side with the available spaces, you will know that Government has set protocols, but the reality on our campuses suggest that Government is not ready.
“Therefore, it will be illogical to contemplate re-opening the universities when the facilities to take care of people are not there. Remember it is the lives of people that we are talking about, lives of students, and lecturers.
When you consider these things, then you feel you are duty-bound to let the Government know that it should be responsible. So we owe Nigerians the duty of compelling Government to do the needful.
“Some universities serving as a Cash cow to some governments are clamouring for the re-opening of our universities. The very impetus for this is to continually exploit Nigerians via fees. Regrettably, there is no evidence that the COVID-19 protocols and advisories will be enforced. What facilities do we have to ensure the protocols would be kept?
“One thing is obvious: they don’t care about the safety and lives of Nigerians; all they care for is how to exploit the system for their personal benefits. Just because of capitalist disposition, some people would want universities to resume so as to make money.
They are capitalists. They are given to cupidity. With this, we have blown the whistle”
Brown regretted that the governing structures in many universities across the country including the Visitor(s), Governing Councils, and management have left much to be desired lately
He said it was shocking to note that in the face of the ongoing industrial action by the Union, COVID-19 pandemic, the lockdown and closure of Schools, particularly universities, some Vice-Chancellors were rigging the processes of appointments and promotions and in some cases with active connivance of staff of the IPPIS.
“Our Union will expose such and stop at nothing in invalidating products of any rigged process. No doubt the recent event regarding the governance structure in the University of Lagos has brought to the fore the peremptory that goes on in our universities. We salute the gallantry of our members in UNILAG and align ourselves with their position.
“Thus we encourage our members and other stakeholders in the University system across the country to adopt the UNILAG model in our common resolve to resist impunity for the good of our university system.
“In addition, on August 17, 2020, the Union presented its credible alternative to the managers of education and tertiary education in Nigeria. We make bold to state that while the fraud-infested IPPIS merely but understandably totally focused on the payroll but nothing on the personnel aspect, the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) has provided for both.
“The ball is now on the court of the government to subject UTAS to requisite integrity test as objectively as possible, which our Union has already done, to satisfy itself; we so challenge. We believe that history will vindicate us”