Students in public universities may not be resuming classes any time soon following the insistence by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) that until its demands are met, its members will simply remain at home.
The union therefore asked the Federal Government to honour the agreement it had with the body before making any announcement on the reopening of the universities after the COVID-19 pandemic.
The union added that it would unfold its next agenda if the Federal Government refused to negotiate the 2009 agreement signed by both parties.
Speaking at a town meeting at the African Hall, the University of Ilorin, the ASUU National President, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, however, declined to reveal the agenda.
The union leader disclosed: “I think it is better we wait. When we get to that bridge, we will cross it. I can’t open our strategy here; whatever you do is about strategy; let the government refuse to negotiate, we will unfold our strategy then.”
Ogunyemi revealed that the union had in March gone on strike because of the government’s insensitivity to university education, adding that some of ASUU’s demands included funding of university education, which the government had reneged on in the last 10 years.
“There is a deliberate attempt to kill university education in the country. Some universities use stoves in their laboratories instead of burners and buckets to fetch water to perform experiments; it’s as bad as that,” he said.
He explained that ASUU had signed MoU with the Federal Government on the need to improve facilities on the campuses, students’ welfare, promotion, and welfare, which were ignored “because there are plans to make education inaccessible to children of the poor, which today is creating social vices such as Yahoo-Yahoo, Yahoo-plus, banditry, and other criminal activities in the society.
“Check the social media; you will see them celebrating their children graduating from foreign universities. This is why they are not willing to fund public universities”, the ASUU president said.
The university education has been in continual decline since the 1970s and ASUU insists that its driving commitment is to reverse that decline.