ASUU Decries Cut in Allocations to Federal Universities

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By Michael Olugbode in Maiduguri with agency report

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Abuja Zone, has expressed displeasure over cut in allocation for personnel expenditure to federal universities by the federal government.

ASUU, Abuja Zonal Coordinator, Prof. Suleiman Muhammed, who briefed journalists yesterday in Abuja, said the cut had adversely affected the union.

Mohammed, according to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), said ASUU, Abuja Zone comprised University of Abuja, Federal University of Technology, Minna, Nasarawa State University, Keffi and Ibrahim Babangida University, Lapai.

He said  relevant authorities like the Federal Ministry of Finance and Budget Office seemed not to understand how the university system worked.

“With deeply worrisome concerns, ASUU-Abuja Zone wishes to bring to the notice of the general public the unilateral drastic cut by the Federal Government of Nigeria in the personnel expenditure allocations to federal universities across the country.

“This ugly phenomenon began in December 2015; one of the federal universities which received allocation of a little over N336 million in December 2015, has consistently received about N308 million for the months of January through March, 2016,’’ he said.

The coordinator said it was wrong for the federal government to implement unilateral pay-cut in university workers’ salaries being a signatory to most International Labour Organisation (ILO) conventions.

He expressed concern that state governments, the proprietors of state universities, were waiting to copy the federal government, adding that this could lead to breakdown in industrial harmony across all public universities.

Muhammed said  for industrial harmony within the university system, ASUU members should have their salaries and allowances paid in full and not in percentages.

Also, the Vice Chancellor of University of Maiduguri, Prof. Ibrahim Njodi, said poor funding of Nigerian universities was responsible for their low global ranking.

Speaking during the 22nd convocation and 40th anniversary of the institution, the vice-chancellor lamented that poor funding has allowed for abysmal infrastructure in the educational sector in the country.

He claimed that Nigerian university system has suffered from inadequate funding in the last three decades, which is generally reflected in poor facilities for teaching, learning and research.

He said the inadequate funding has also affected the ability of the universities to meet the demands of staff and students for improved welfare leading to strikes by staff unions.

He said: “The implications of poor funding are reflected in the current abysmal infrastructure in the system and the poor ranking of Nigerian universities in Africa and the world.

“The funding situation in the University of Maiduguri is grossly inadequate, which adversely affects infrastructural development as there cannot be quality education without adequate funding.”

He bemoaned that the peculiarity of the University of Maiduguri and the difficulty situation it is operating has made it imperative to seek support to further develop physical infrastructure in the university, improve on standards and staff as well as students’ welfare.

He however appealed to federal government, accomplished alumni, distinguished stakeholders philanthropic individuals, foundations, UN agencies, friends of the university and well wishers to support the university to keep it’s standards of research and teaching high.