Education

FG creating new universities for 2023 campaign – ASUU

Education

THE Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, yesterday accused the federal government of politicizing university education, alleging that the new universities recently announced by government were for 2023 election campaigns.

The federal government recently announced the establishment of six new private universities across the country, bringing total universities in Nigeria to about 176 universities both public and private.

Addressing reporters Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka on the controversial issue of Nigerian Technology Development Agency, NITDA, which the organization has consistently opposed, the Owerri zone of ASUU wondered why government should be establishing new universities at this critical time when it is unable to properly fund the existing ones.

The coordinator of ASUU in the zone, Comrade Uzo Onyebinama said the association would ask the National Universities Commission, NUC, to review its act to empower it to control the rate at which state governments were also establishing universities even when they couldn’t fund existing ones.

Onyebinama said: “We had asked federal government in our various conferences the needless of creating universities when it can’t fund existing ones.
“But you know, as politicians, giving that we are approaching 2023 election, they want to have something for their campaign.

“When they visit those communities, they tell them they’ve given them universities. It’s not about opening universities, but funding and sustenance. Why establish new universities when the ones on ground are mere shadows of themselves.

“If they fund the existing ones and expand their facilities, those ones can absorb whatever number of students these new ones will take. Truth is that, the same new universities will tomorrow join other old ones to lament about funding. And another government will come up to establish theirs.

“Both the Federal and state governments are guilty of this and that is why we are asking the federal government to stop the proliferation of universities”.
Onyebinama also spoke on what he described as the pitiable condition s of service of academic staff in public universities in Nigeria, lamenting that they have been on the same salary structure since 2009.

He added: “A professor in a public university in Nigeria at the bar of his salary scale takes home N416, 000 per month. This is in spite of hyper inflation and hyper devaluation of the Naira.
“At an average conservative exchange rate of 500 naira to the dollar, the take home pay of a professor in a Nigerian university amounts to 832 dollars.

“Another major outstanding issue is the reluctance of the federal government of Nigeria to deploy the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) as a payment platform for the salaries and other entitlements of academic staff in public Universities.

Other chairmen of ASUU in universities in Owerri zone who participated at the press conference were Okey Aniebo of Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University, COOU, Chinedu Ihejirika of Federal University of Technology, FUTO, Owerri, Odinakachukwu Ejiogu of Imo State University, IMSU, Owerri, Chike Ugwuene of Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, MOUAU, and Steve Ufoaroh of Nnamdi Azikiwe University, NAU, Awka.

Ifeizu

Ifeizu is a seasoned journalist and Managing Editor of TheRazor. He has wide knowledge of Anambra State and has reported the state objectively for over a decade.

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