University teachers, on Tuesday, again warned of a looming strike in the nation’s universities if the Federal Government fails to address urgently the many challenges facing the institutions.
The government, they alleged, had been reluctant in bringing about a genuine transformation of the education sector.
Lecturers under the auspices of the Lagos zone of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, who said this through their Coordinator, Prof. Olusiji Sowande, during a briefing at the University of Lagos, however, did not state when the strike would commence.
Lagos State University, Ojo; UNILAG, Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State; Tai Solarin University of Education and the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Ogun State, all belong to the zone.
According to Sowande, the Federal Government has for the umpteenth time violated the tenets of 2009 agreement it signed with the union as well as refused to inject enough funds to the sector.
He noted, for instance, that as of the third quarter of this year, the government owed universities N605bn following the 2013 ASUU-FGN memorandum of understanding.
Sowande explained, “Our union has continued to bring up issues of concern about the governance of our universities because it forms part of our professional and moral responsibility.
“We are disappointed that the federal and state governments are not responding to our consistent appeals for reasons to bring about genuine transformation, driven by highly motivated human capital in the education sector.”
The ASUU helmsman, who urged well-meaning individuals and groups to appeal to the government to attend to their requests, said an industrial action was inevitable if it continued to neglect the challenges facing the ivory towers.
He added, “Embarking on strike has never been a favoured choice, given that our members feel and suffer the most during and after every strike. It is unfortunate that the only language the government appears to respect and listen to is that of strike. Our union has, in the past if it becomes inevitable, would once again sacrifice the comfort of its members and take up the patriotic duty of rescuing our education system.
“In order to forestall this avoidable crisis, we appeal to all genuinely progressive individuals and groups to prevail on the Nigerian government to arrest a brewing and potentially combustible situation in the university system. We are using this medium to draw attention to our cause because we do not want Nigerians to blame us whenever the strike starts.”
Meanwhile, ASUU also urged the government to remove Prof. Ishaq Oloyede as the new Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board Registrar.
Sowande alleged that Oloyede turned the University of Ilorin, Kwara State, into a “garrison university” when he was its vice-chancellor, declaring that the union would not have anything to do with him as the JAMB chief executive.