• payment system where a Professor is receiving N40,000
  • university laboratories are using stove as a bunsen burner
  • 99% of facilities in Nigerian universities are TetFund
  • If not for ASUU struggle, there would be no universities again
  • Government to charge students N1,000,0000 per year
  • if we suspend this strike, nothing will happen again.
  • there is no respect for academics in Nigeria
  • can we change the strategy? Can we lobby?
  • you see a professor moving with a tattered shoe, tattered dress
  • let students fight their fight with their government… they don’t have the right to be in our table

Details

The ASUU national chairman, Professor Emmanuel Osedeke have stated that the ongoing 4 weeks warning strike which is expected to end by Sunday 13th March, 2022 will automatically roll over into an indefinite strike if the federal government failed to do what it is expected to do. The ASUU don stated this on AIT Focus Nigeria show 9th March, 2022. Present was the Vice Chancellor, Niger Delta University, who also double as the Chairman, Committee of Vice Chancellors of Nigeria Universities.

The ASUU national chairman also accused the Federal Government of going abroad to develop a payment system where a Professor is receiving N40,000. “You go outside and brought a programme to pay your workers salary. And then they will compile all our data and give to those foreign countries. No nation will do that. And today, it has crippled the students.”

A & U Ng Standard Document 1: How To Gain Admission Into The Niger Delta University

You cannot employ a lecturer. The ASUU chairman lamented that when a critical staff resigns, the VC is supposed to replace him on temporary basis until he is confirmed. But with the current position, you will have to go to Abuja to the head of service, a VC, going to the head of service, a B.Sc. holder to go and get permission. Then you go to federal character to get permission then from there, you go to National Assembly.

Prof. Samuel Gowon Edoumiekumo, VC, NDU; Chairman, Committee of Vice Chancellor

Prof. Emmanuel Osedeke also stated that many Nigerian university laboratories are using stove as a bunsen burner. All the project you are seeing in Nigeria, 99% are TetFund. If not for ASUU struggle since 1992, there would not be TetFund and there would not be universities again. If you go to the universities today, a large number of their projects are needs assessment. If you remove this, do you have universities again?

A & U Ng Standard Document 2: Total Cost of Schooling in Niger Delta University

In one of our negotiation, the government said we (ASUU) should allow them (government) to charge students N1,000,0000 per year. And that N1m they will go and take it from the bank with interest. So they want students whose parents are earning N30,000 per month to go and pay N1m. The loans are structured to be paid back after graduation. So, if it takes you 20years to get a job, your interest accumulates. Many of the students committed suicide because they couldn’t pay back.

Jambites: 10 Important Reasons Why You Must Choose Niger Delta University

Arguing on the lack of political will of the government, the ASUU don stated that when Obafemi Awolowo was Prime Minister (premier) of Western Nigeria, he was giving 30% of his budget for education and the effect was very clear. Ghana gave 20, South Africa gave 25 but we have been given 5.6%, the least in the whole world. So, if they upgrade our budget from 5.6% to 15% it will solve all these problems.

Emphasizing on the status of the strike, the ASUU boss stated that the 4week warning strike becomes/rollover to indefinite strike if the government refused to do what they are supposed to do. Negotiations with government have been ended with a draft agreement and by our own rule, government take their draft and we go back to our members. Since May 2020 we have been waiting for them (government) to come back to us. Now they are setting up another committee for 3 months. We can assure Nigerians that if we suspend this strike everything will stop and nothing will happen. We will then wait till a year later, disturb the students from being in school again before they will start from here.

While expressing his concern over the strike, Professor Samuel Gowon Edoumiekumo, Vice Chancellor, Niger Delta University and Chairman of Nigerian Universities Association stated that university autonomy is not something we should even toy with. But it is misunderstood. University autonomy according to Edoumiekumo is not just finances but allowing the university to run the affairs of the university. Edoumiekumo urged FG to run the universities like other government agencies and asked if the FG can implement IPPIS in NNPC, Local Content and their likes. Edoumiekumo argued that the FG centralized a payment system where a professor is mistakenly paid N40,000 with a lot of cases in like manner.

Then the professor will have to go to Abuja because the bursar will not be able to handle it for him and you will allow a professor to be moving from one place to another. There is no respect for academics in Nigeria that is why you hear students saying school is a scam.

“I grew up from a public primary school, then to a public secondary school, to public universities. And my children are all in the university where I am a Vice Chancellor. I refused to send them overseas and I ensure they all attended public primary school, public secondary schools and they are in the public universities. If a Vice Chancellor takes his children to the public university, he will ensure quality because his kids are there, he will do everything humanly possible to see that the right thing is done.

Prof. Edoumiekumo also stated that “the environment lecturers are working is not conducive at all. How much is a professor being paid? 300,000 in a month. Convert it a dollar, how much? Then you see a professor moving with a tattered shoe, tattered dress and do you think the young ones coming up to imitate them? They can’t be mentors.”

In an attempt to create a way out of the perennial strike, Prof. Samuel Edoumiekumo stated “that the Nigerian government will not say they don’t have the funds. A father will always be telling the children no money, no money but when he have the interest, he is still going out and drinking. The thing is priority, they don’t really have priority for education to be sincere and frank. You just need to adjust the VC added.”

“Where did you get $8.m to go and evacuate Nigerians from Ukraine? You are spending 400 and something billion naira for the electoral process.”

Discussing on the change of strategy by ASUU away from incessant strike, Edoumiekumo stated that “I have said severally even within my university that look, we have been engaging government using strike option and all that for a period now it is not working. Can we change the strategy? Can we lobby? Because everything about any situation in life is mindset. This one they are saying no money, by the time we lobby into the heart of Mr. President and make Mr. President to see that if we don’t do this thing, it will lead to this and that. Like what ASUU did in 1992 during President Ibrahim Babangida that led to the Education Trust Fund. If you do not buy into the heart of the person, crumble the economy, he will do nothing.

While countering the VC on using lobbying as a way forward, the ASUU boss noted that the union has met with the Senate President and presented solutions to him, yet nothing happened. We met with the speaker of the house of reps. They agreed they will settle it within two weeks as a way of lobbying, nothing happened. We met with the president 2019 and handed over to him our record on how to solve this problem. He handed it over to the minister of education to go and resolve this problem, nothing happened. We also met with the chief of staff to the president 2 times. He said he will setup a roundtable to look into it, nothing happened. We have met with the minister of labour not less than 8 times on this issue, nothing happened. We met with NIREC (Nigeria Inter-Religious Council). That is how we could go. They said they will intervene. We gave them from November till now. They met with government, nothing happened.

When asked why they do not include students in their negotiation with the government, the ASUU chairman noted that “the students have to fight their fight, not with us. During my time, Ali must go, the students fought their fight. They don’t have the right to be in our table, it is a bipartite negotiation. They should go and have their table with their government. If we do that and they demonstrated tomorrow, they will say ASUU instigated them.

When asked if ASUU have resorted to prayers, the chairman stated that what NIREC have all prayed nothing have happened, this is the only solution.

//thaudray.com/4/5069189
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