By; BAYO AKAMO, Ibadan.
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) on Tuesday said Federal Government is still owing Universities N550billion NEEDS assessment intervention fund.
According to a statement made available to journalists in Ibadan and signed by its Zonal coordinator for Ibadan Zone, Dr Ade Adejumo and Chairman University of Ibadan Chapter, Dr Deji Omole respectively, the N550billion NEEDS assessment intervention fund were those of 2014; 220billion, 2015; 220billion and 2016; 110billion.
The union pointed out that only prompt payment of the outstanding N550billion assessment intervention fund to the Universities can save the Universities, saying, the Nigeria government attitude towards funding education is killing the sector and making it difficult for it to be globally competitive and causing massive brain drain.
ASUU stated that the intervention fund was last paid in 2013 during the last administration of Dr Goodluck Jonathan.
The union while giving the breakdown of the outstanding NEEDS assessment intervention fund for Universities as; 2014; N220billion, 2015; N220billion and 2016; N110billion, stated that of the capital budget allocated to education in the 2016 budget, 38 percent went to Federal Government secondary schools with 5 percent, 3percent and 8percent allocated to Federal Polytechnics, Colleges of Education and Universities respectively.
ASUU in the statement tasked the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu to without wasting time attend to issues of Earned Academic Allowances, renegotiation of 2009 ASUU/FGN agreements, Staff Salaries, Academic Pension, TSA and University Autonomy and budgetary allocation to education raised at their previous meetings before the university system is plunged into industrial crisis.
The union emphasized that government cannot expect any miracle from its grossly under-funded universities to compete with adequately funded universities and highly motivated academics around the globe.
Also, ASUU expressed displeasure at the reduction by government of its budgetary allocation to education to worsen the sector from 11 percent in 2013, 12 percent in 2014, 11 percent in 2015 to 8 percent in the 2016 budget as well as the present “fractional, irregular, non-payment of salaries and other personnel emoluments” saying, it will resist any further attempt to erode university autonomy.
Berating government officials for always shedding crocodile tears at university convocation where they decry low ranking of Nigerian universities while they take their children to study abroad, ASUU noted that no country can develop beyond her educational institutions.
Cautioning the federal government against taking the union for granted, ASUU stressed that while “it is fully aware of the present socio-economic situations, government must continue to attend to critical sectors of the economy and find home grown economic models to rescue it from the present doldrums”.
By; BAYO AKAMO, Ibadan.