In interview with the ASUU chairman ESUT chapter Dr. Chinedu Aguba concerning the rumour that ASUU is preparing to embark on another strike.
Read full interview below:
Why did the union embark on nationwide strike on 13th August 2017?
We embarked on strike because of government inability to fulfill their own bargain in the agreement ASUU had with them in 2009, in the 2009 agreement, their were many components and one of the component is the funding of the university, in 2009 and 2010 their were seriels of meeting, the government and ASUU went round the universities in Nigeri and saw the level of decay in the universities, those studying biology using stove to do their burner and those studying engineering are trained without any practical work, so education was not meaningful, no facilities, many hostel existed without toilet and other things and as a result of all this their were needs assessment, whereby all the universities were screened and the problems were identified and both the federal government and ASUU signed an agreement in 2009, that from 2009 till next six years they ( federal government ) will be given the universities 220blliion every year for development.
The funding was to enable the universities to stop producing academic embicile and academic morons. So it is sad to note that from 2009 when the agreement was signed, the federal government has not released one naira for the university, so because of that the ASUU has to go on strike.
And also, the professors who suppose to retire at the age of 70, ASUU and federal government signed that the professors will retire with their salaries, but up till now the federal government has not done much on that. Judges and major general retire with their salaries so why not professors. So up till now it is still on pipe line and that is part of the reason we want on strike. Another reason is ,as lectures our work is 24 hours is not only teaching in the classroom and as a result of that and many other reasons, the ASUU said enough is enough and went on strike, but because of appeal of the public the strike was suspended on 18th of September 2017 but with a caveat, meaning if the government fails to fulfill the agreement because another agreement was signed before it was suspended, that is if the government reneges, the ASUU will retrenches, because the suspension is conditional.
It is a pity that the Nigeria government has been irresponsible in funding education. Last year ASUU was crying that the budget for education is 6% and the one they are budgeting for this year is the same 6% where the apex agency UNESCO an arm of the United Nation recommends that no developing nation like Nigeria should dedicate anything less than 26% to education in their budget. Our neighboring nation Ghana make a provision more than 26% of it budget to education and here in Nigeria no government has budgeted more than 11% to education.
No allocation was made by government before the strike was called off?
No allocation at all, if was just a gentlemen agreement
What is the situation on ground now?
The situation on ground is that we have been writing to the government to for them to start fulfilling their part of the agreement and there is yet to be a response from the government.
What is the main work of ASUU?
ASUU is like any other union, it was founded in 1965, the union primary objective is to protect the interest of it members and the interest of the university as a whole, in as much as we protect the interest of members we try at same time to take the university education to next level.
The government said the fund they initially allocated to the union, the union are unable to account for it?
Is like having a five children in a family and I came and chose one and sent him for an errand without consulting or asking the parents who is best among the five children that will run the errand very well. So ASUU does not appoint the vice chancellor or chairman of council, it is the government that does the appointment, so this are people that manages the funds being allocated and ASUU does not condone financial mis- management. We fight for things that are just because we are a union of intellectuals. So if a university cannot account on the funds allocated to them, it should not be generalized.
What is ASUU doing to put an end to lecturers extorting money from students?
All ASUU Chapters attends NEC meeting every two months, NEC is a national meeting held in Abuja. At every meeting the issue of extortion has been in front burner and every ASUU branch or chapter has an ethic committee were such issues are being handled. We are fighting extortion with the last blood in our system. The lecturers extorting money from the students are the cankerworm in education system. Any lecturer engaging in sorting or extorting money from students found and proven, we support any level or kind of sanction on the lecturer and will be removed from the university system.
News credit: ESUTSTUDENTON