Judex Okoro, Calabar
The National Executive Council (NEC) of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has finally withdrawn from its renegotiation on the 2009 Agreement with Federal Government.
ASUU accused the chairman of the government’s renegotiating team, Dr. Wale Babalakin, of commercialising tertiary education in the country.
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It also decried what it described as the parlous state of the economy and insecurity in the country and called on the federal government to brace up to their responsibilities and fulfill its promises to the electorate.
Addressing newsmen after the National Executive Council (NEC) of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), held at the University of Calabar, between August 4 and August 5, 2018, the President, Biodun Ogunyemi, said the council condemned the federal government’s failure to faithfully implement many items on the 2017 memorandum of association (MoA) and has ordered its branches to meet in due course, to consider the next action.
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He listed some of the agreements which the federal government failed to implement to include the release of N20 billion revitalisation fund, release of the report of forensic audit and mainstreaming of Education Achievement Authority (EAA) into the 2018 budget as well as payment of arrears of shortfall in salary.
He said the council has approved the decision of ASUU team to withdraw from the renegotiation of the 2009 FGN/ASUU Agreement as a result of Dr. Wale Babalakin’s insistence on the commercialisation of tertiary education in the country.
He said: “Since the return to civil rule in 1999, the highest budgetary allocation to the education sector was in 2015, when government allocated 11.75 per cent to education. However, in the 2018 budget, the allocation to the education sector fell to a scandalously low point of seven percent. This is also unacceptable.
“The NEC reviewed the state of affairs in our country with special focus on the crisis in the education sector, the increasing despondency among the generality of the citizenry, owing to the hazy political environment foisted on Nigerians by the ruling class.
“The inclement economic atmosphere which has continued to produce joblessness, hampered productive activities and the development of productive capacities, the total disconnect between the government and Nigerians at every tier of our political structure.
“ASUU, as a union of patriotic intellectuals, is compelled, once again, as in our established tradition, to call the attention of Nigerians to the multiple malaises that have constantly conspired and are still conspiring against our developmental aspiration as citizens in the Nigerian state.
“As a union in the education sector, we have a duty to Nigerians to assess and report on the state of our universities, which is gravely disturbing, as education, which is the kernel of transformation in any society, is being treated with levity.”
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ASSU’s national president decried the issue of insecurity in the country, which, he said, has escalated beyond the boundary of rational explanation, just as it continues to defy solution, just as he condemned the indiscriminate killing of Nigerians, mostly the poor, in the rural areas of the country.