Segun Awofadeji in Bauchi

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has alleged that inadequate funding and other measures being taken by government is crippling Nigerian universities.

Addressing a Press Conference in Bauchi recently, the Zonal Coordinator of the union, Professor Nanmwa Voncir, said successive governments have tried to destroy universities through‎ various ways in the past, adding that the union has always resisted the moves through its various struggles.

“In years past, the Federal Government of Nigeria has continued to cut down the funding of universities, especially the capital and overhead costs leading to dilapidated infrastructure and equipment/facilities.”
He said the only saving grace for the universities and other tertiary institutions was the intervention by the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund)‎, adding that while the universities are bogged down by inadequate funds, personnel cost was also reduced, which he said was why most universities cannot pay monthly salaries of their staff.

Voncir said the union viewed the move as an attempt by the federal government to start the privatisation of the universities. “You are also aware that recently, the federal government ordered the closure of all university staff primary schools and the sack of the staff. This is a direct confrontation with the union because the staff primary school is a product of a negotiated agreement between ASUU and FGN (From 1992 to date).”

The union therefore called on Nigerians to rise against any plan by the government to undermine the universities. “We also want to let the government know that we shall not abandon our role of being the watchdog and defender of the society.
“We shall do everything within our powers to stop the drift towards privatisation of public universities in Nigeria. The current industrial peace on universities campuses should not be endangered by the federal government.”