ASUU decries infrastructural decay, poor funding, proliferation of universities in Nigeria

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By Ifeanyi Olannye

The Benin Zone of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) on Wednesday, decried the continued infrastructural decay, poor funding and proliferation of universities in Nigeria.
Prof. Monday Igbafen, Zonal Coordinator, Benin Zone of ASUU, expressed the union’s stand at a news conference organised over the unresolved issues between ASUU and government held at Delta State  University, Abraka.
Igbafen said the Zone comprises, University of Benin; Ambrose Ali University, Ekpoma; Adekunle Ajasin University; Akungba Akoko and Olusegun Agagu University of Science and Technology, Okitipupa
According to him, others are Delta State University, Abraka; Federal University of Petroleum Resources Effurun and University of Delta, Agbor.
He said that the briefing had become necessary to alert critical stakeholders and the general public to yet another avoidable impending paralysis in Nigeria’s public universities due to actions and inactions of the government.
He said that the proliferation of universities was one of  the issues that precipitated the 2022 prolonged industrial action by the union.
Igbafen noted that in 2020, the ASUU-FGN Memorandum of Action stressed the need to review the Nigeria University Commission (NUC) Act to empower it to arrest he reckless proliferation of universities by Federal and States governments without adequate budgetary provision to fund them.
According to him, the reckless establishment of universities by politicians, most of which are seen as constituency projects, has  put much pressure on the intervention funds provided by the Tertiary Education Trust Fund(TETFund).
He said that certain state universities were established without serious consideration for their adequate funding.
He urged the governments to halt the proliferation of universities and fund the existing ones to enable them compete with Ivory Towers in other parts of the world.
According to Igbafen, the debilitating and suffocating impact of neo-liberal policies of government at both the Federal and State levels had undoubtedly undermined public good and other good things of life in the country;
“These include the welfare of academics. As a result, not only is education in the doldrums, academics in Nigeria have become the endangered species in Nigeria existential space.
“Recall that our union has been confronting the Federal Government on a number of issues which include stalled renegotiation of 2009 FGN/ASUU agreement, the absence of governing councils in federal and states universities.
“Also, the Earned Academic Allowance, the withheld salaries and promotion arrears and third party deductions, illegal recruitment, proliferation of public universities, abuse of the universities’ rules and processes and TSA/ News IPPIs.”
Igbafen noted that the issues highlighted had had been on for a decade, adding that the failure of government to address the myriad challenges and worsening living and working conditions in Nigeria public universities is a direct invitation to crisis.
“The crisis is eminent if this and other unresolved Sundry issues are not urgently and reasonably addressed by government,” he said.
The  News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Dr Paul Opone of Department of History and International Studies was elected Chairman, Delta State University, Abraka Chapter of ASUU  to led the union for the next two years.
Opone took over from Prof. Godwin Demaki of Department of Business Administration of the university in a keenly but peaceful contested elections.
In his acceptance speech, Opone pledged to pursue all issues that were inherited from the previous administration to ensure the attainment of members welfare.
According to him, issues of over N150 million promotion arrears owed its members will be pursued to a logical conclusion among others.(NAN) (www.nannews.com.ng).

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