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Face Reality Of Decay, Declare Emergency On Education, ASUU, NANS Tell FG

With the ongoing strike embarked by the Academic Staff Union Of Universities (ASUU), both the ASUU and the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) have asked the federal government to face reality of a decay and declare a state of emergency on education in the country.

In separate addresses to journalists, Chairman, ASUU, University of Ibadan branch, Professor Ayoola Akinwole, and Deputy Coordinator, NANS, South-West zone, Mr Alao John bemoaned the laissez-faire attitude of the Federal Government towards the prolonged strike by educational institutions and research institutes.

In his own address, Professor Ayoola Akinwole decried that the Federal Government continued to sabotage rather than implement the alreadyrenegotiated 2009 agreement.

He faulted any renegotiation of the 2009 agreement noting that what is imperative is for the Federal Government to implement the latest Memorandum of Agreement signed with the union on December 23, 2020.

Akinwole said the Federal Government was playing pranks with ASUU and was adopting a piecemeal solution through part payment of the earned academic allowance, inadequate disbursement of revitalization funds rather than fully implementing all outstanding provisions of the agreement reached with the union in December 2020.

Akinwole emphasized that the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) developed by ASUU was a cost-effective alternative to check corruption and preserve the autonomy of Nigerian Universities.

This is as he added that the ASUU wanted the mainstreaming of Earned Academic Allowances into the annual federal budget and the release of the white papers on visitation panels sent to federal universities.

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“It is never too late for the government to make it an urgent point of duty to solve the problem of university education and not think that it will just pass away. It will be getting worse if nothing is done.

“Government should face the reality of the decay and declare a state of emergency on the poor condition of public university in Nigeria and give it what is due to it. Government should stop this isolationism and embrace holistic solutions to public university education.

“It is true that Nigeria has never been such a great economic success story but the current decline and anomie in our public universities was not on the scale that we see today.

“It is obvious by veritable evidence that the current political leaders and administration in Nigeria are paying lip service to public education, nay, the welfare of the common people and workers,” Akinwole said.

On his part, the Deputy Coordinator, NANS South-West, Mr Alao John bemoaned that the federal government had failed to yield the demands of research institutes which necessitated a strike action that had been on since November 11, 2021.

Unions of research institutions, under the umbrella of Joint Research and Allied Institutions Sector Unions (JORAISU) had alleged the failure of the federal government to implement an agreement reached with them in 2010.

Issues that led to declaration of the strike then included payment of 12-months Consolidated Research and Allied Institutions Salary Structure (CONRAISS) arrears of 53.37 per cent increase; withdrawal of circular on non-skipping of salary Grade Level 10 (NICN Court judgment in favour of trade unions and others); retirement age of 65 years for non-research staff as is obtainable in the universities and others; peculiar and earned allowances; adequate funding of research institutes and release of scheme/conditions of service.

Owing to the strike, research institutes have since November 11, 2021, run skeletal operations.

The NANS bemoaned that students in the research institutes had been subjected to skeletal learning and studying, an attitude the union noted portrayed the government as paying lip service to research and technological development.

Especially, Alao noted that colleges of agriculture under research institutes had been shortchanged, positing that their researchers got virtually no funds for research.

Alao said: “Federal government seems not to be in the know that research institutes in Nigeria are on strike. “Educational system in Nigeria has collapsed and, as such, the Federal Government should as a matter of urgency declare of state of emergency on education.

“No country can develop without research and one of the major aims of education is training.

“Federal Government should implement the agreement signed with research institutes in the country.

“Colleges of agriculture under this research institutes are being short-changed. These are specialized institutions that if their area of specialisation is explored, there would be many breakthroughs in the areas they cover.

“Also, there are no research funds to assist researchers in these institutes and colleges.

“We were reliably informed of the exclusion of all colleges under research institutes and other special colleges from TETFUND.

“They ought to be the prioritised beneficiaries of these funds as they are specialised institutions which if properly funded will achieve their maximum potential.

“This will serve as a catalyst to solve many unresolved issues facing us as a nation.

“A country cannot survive without research work. Research is the bedrock of any nation to move from underdeveloped to a developed nation.”

READ ALSO: “We give you One Week to Reach an Agreement or Face Our Wrath,” NANS Threatens FG, ASUU

CREDIT: ALLSCHOOL, Nigerian Tribune

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