The Committee of Vice-Chancellors and Registrars of Private Universities has called on the Nigerian government to consider the future of students and end the ongoing Academic Staff Union of Universities strike.
As a result of the refusal of the Federal Government to sign the demands of ASUU and after the last negotiation meeting on August 16, 2022 ended in deadlock, ASUU went on a total indefinite strike on Monday, August 29, 2022.
In an interview with The PUNCH, Chairman, CVCRPUN, Prof. Kabiru Adeyemo, who is also the VC of Lead City University, Oyo State, maintained that the protracted strike is becoming worrisome.
He said: “The current strike action of the Nigerian universities is becoming worrisome, harmful, too long and highly destructive. The federal government should find a lasting solution and allow the students to go back for lectures. Our universities must now resume The students, parents and stakeholders have suffered. The federal government must be sincere, both parties must be ready to move lands and allow the public universities to reopen for academic activities. Enough is enough.
“Our relationship between private and public universities is symbiotic. It would be to our own joy and honor for the government to open the universities so that students can go back to school. The government and ASUU should agree, because the hardship is too much on students and parents.”
Similarly, VC of Babcock University, Illishan Remo, Prof Ademola Tayo, added that government should always come clean with university workers in their commitment to funding education.
Tayo explained that it was important that government and university officials were transparent to end the ASUUU strike, saying one of the ways to end strikes is for government to prioritize education as it prioritizes security.
In fact, education should be seen as the twin sister of security. Every successive national government should prioritize education and safety in the national budget.
“Transparency on the part of university administrators, including lecturers, is important and critical to ending persistent strikes. University officials must be transparent in the use of the funds made available to them by the government.
”If funds are administered transparently, they will produce important outcomes such as modern facilities, highly motivated university workers, higher productivity and quality graduates and therefore fewer or no strikes.
Transparency on the part of the government is also crucial to ending strikes. The government must always come clean with university workers in their commitment to funding education. Government at the state and local levels should also allow significant increases in financial commitment to the education sector. Besides ending strikes, it will accelerate progress towards education for all goals.”
Tayo added that with the dwindling national income and declining government funding, public tertiary institutions should be given full autonomy to operate and complement the government in financing their institutions.
”In this case, universities can charge fees as they believe can help provide the necessary facilities to improve learning.
“With full autonomy, the enterprising among these federal and state tertiary institutions can seize the opportunity to go into income generating ventures. Apart from the accrued income to be earned by the institutions from these enterprises, many people will also be employed by these enterprises,” he said.
On his part, Mountain Top University, Ogun State, Prof. Elijah Ayolabi, said the government will destroy the future of its youths and the entire nation if the strike is not resolved.
Ayolabi said: “ASUU strike is not new. The tactics of the government are not new either. The government must think twice and consider the future of our youth so that they do not make decisions that will endanger their future and the entire nation.”
Meanwhile, the Concerned Alumni of Nigerian Universities in a statement also expressed concern over the ongoing crises between the Academic Staff Union of Universities and the Federal Government and the continued closure of universities in Nigeria.
The statement titled, ‘Concerned alumni of Nigerian universities over the ongoing ASUU strike’ was signed by the next president, University of Lagos Alumni Association, Dr John Momoh, National Chairman, Conference of Alumni Associations of Nigerian Universities for ABU Alumni Association Prof. Ahmed Mora, President, University of Ibadan Alumni, Prof. Elsie Adewoye, President, University of Calabar Alumni, Prof. Yakubu Aboki Ochefu, President, University of Jos Alumni Pst. Nuhu Sani, President, University of Port Harcourt Alumni Pst. Ole Williams remains.
It read in part: ”The Association appealed to the Presidency to wade into the matter as a matter of utmost concern so that all conflicting issues are resolved quickly and expeditiously. On the other hand, the Association pleads with the leadership of ASUU to sheathe its sword and call its members back to the universities as they have made their point. The opinion of the members of the public is generally in favor of the resumption of academic activities in the universities which have been closed for more than six months now.”