Muyiwa Adeyemi and Kanayo Umeh
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has warned the Federal Government against increasing tuition fees in public universities to N350,000 per session.
The Ibadan Zone of the union alleged that the government has concluded plans to effect the increase, urging Nigerians to kick against it.
At the Correspondents Chapel office in Ibadan yesterday, the Zonal Coordinator of ASUU, Dr. Ade Adejumo, alleged that increase in tuition was the position of the Federal Government team led by Dr. Wale Babalakin, which the union has rejected. He urged Nigerians to join in the struggle to make the government do the needful to public education.
ASUU said it was kicking against government’s plan to establish education bank where students will beg for loans to attend public universities.
Flanked by the Chairman, University of Ibadan ASUU, Dr. Deji Omole, Osun State University ASUU Chairman, Dr. Femi Abanikanda, and the Investment Secretary of the University of Ibadan Chapter, Prof. Ayo Akinwole, Adejumo warned that unless the Federal Government is prevailed upon to honour the Memorandum of Action it signed with the union in 2017, it could not guarantee industrial peace and harmony on university campuses.
According to the Union, the issues in the 2017 Memorandum of Action that may lead to another strike include collapse of the renegotiation of 2009 FGN/ASUU agreement, non-release of over N2 trillion meant for the revitalization of decayed infrastructure in public varsities (2014-2018), failure to release the forensic audit on the disbursement of Earned Academic Allowances covering 2009 to 2017, failure to pay arrears of shortfall in accrued salaries in universities that have been verified under PICA, failure to release operational license of NUPEMCO, and needless proliferation of state universities.
ASUU said instead of the Muhammadu Buhari led-government to inject funds into the universities, its agents were busy indulging in propaganda that it has released N20billion to ASUU when in actual fact the funds were released to the management of the universities.
ASUU said it was laughable that a government could be happy releasing N20billion to about 64 public varsities in the country, wondering how significant this could be.
Also yesterday, the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) cautioned against hiking of school fees.
NANS President, Denielson Bamidele advised the government to live up to its responsibility of making education accessible to all Nigerians irrespective of class, improve the take home pay of Nigerian workers and provide basic amenities to improve the well being of millions of impoverished Nigerians.
“We reject the proposed idea of sharing cost of university education while claiming government alone cannot fund education as allegedly proposed by government’s chief negotiator.
“I wish to reiterate and remind the Federal Government of its order forbidding charging of tuition fees in Nigerian universities in May 2002, while urging it to maintain its constitutional responsibility of funding education in the country.”