*Public universities on deathbed — NAPTAN, NANS
By Adesina Wahab
As members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, on Monday, rolled over their warning strike by another 12 weeks, critical stakeholders in the sector have called for urgent steps to save public universities from imminent collapse.
The stakeholders, who spoke to the Vanguard in separate interviews, opined that public universities in the country are now on the deathbed.
They include the National Association of Nigerian Students, NANS, and the National Parent Teacher Association of Nigeria, NAPTAN.
The National President of NANS, Comrade Sunday Asefon, said the student body would come out with a comprehensive response to the development.
The National President of NAPTAN, Alhaji Haruna Danjuma, said university education has suffered a great setback with prolong industrial actions.
“The government has time and money to do other things but does not seem to have the time and money to attend to issues relating to education,” he stated.
ASUU, in a statement issued by the National President, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, said after a review of the situation, they decided to roll over the strike by another 12 weeks.
It read in part: “NEC noted with serious disappointment that the three-man Committee set up by the President and Commander- in- Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on 1st February, 2022 to resolve the lingering issues between ASUU and FGN has not called a single meeting to date.
“NEC was equally disappointed that ASUU’s only meeting with the Professor Nimi Briggs-led Renegotiation Committee did not reflect the expected level of understanding, preparation and clarity that undergird collective bargaining going by the Committee’s confession of ‘going about consulting stakeholders’.
“Unless urgent steps are taken to redirect the Committee on concluding a draft Agreement that has been pending since May 2021, its activities may end up as another wild goose chase.
“NEC condemned the provocative statements of some government functionaries and salutes the Nigerian Labour Congress, patriotic students’ groups and civil society organisations who have taken steps towards resolving the current labour dispute with the Nigeria government.
“NEC found the planned overseas trip organised by the Committee of Vice-Chancellors of Nigerian Universities’ Spouses (CVCNUS) despicable and condemnable.
“The advertised five-day conference in Istanbul is a waste of scarce resources of our universities; it is insensitive and provocative, particularly at a time like this when lecturers are denied their salaries for daring to struggle to improve the lot of our public universities.
“After extensive deliberations, noting Government’s failure to live up to its responsibilities and speedily address all the issues raised in the 2020 FGN/ASUU Memorandum of Action (MoA) within the additional eight-week rollover strike period declared on 14th March 2022, NEC resolved that the strike be rolled over for 12 weeks to give Government more time to satisfactorily resolve all the outstanding issues.
“The roll-over strike action is with effect from 12.01a.m. on Monday, 9th May, 2022.”