The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has said that the union is not responsible for the current decay in public universities in the country.
Associate Prof. Lazarus Maigoro, chairman of the union at the University of Jos, stated this during a peaceful protest organised on Tuesday in Jos.
The chairman said that the ongoing struggle by the union is aimed at salvaging the university system from total collapse.
“It is no longer news that the Nigerian university system is currently facing its most existential threats.
The systematic neglect, chronic underfunding and lack of attention given to public universities and, by extension the educational system, have led to its inability to compete globally.
“ASUU had over the years engaged previous and current governments with the aim of addressing and arresting this slide into decadence.
“So, Nigerians should not see ASUU as the enemy of education but the body whose quest is to make university education the envy of all,” he said.
Maigoro added that the numerous struggles by ASUU led to the creation of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND) and the NEEDS assessment funds and other streams of funding to revive public universities.
The Chairman explained that its current struggle centred around university autonomy, funding and welfare of university workers, adding that all its agreements with the government since 2009 revolved around them.
He noted that ASUU remains a responsible union, hence would not be the reason for the collapse of public universities and called on Nigerians to support the union in its struggle for a better educational system.
“As a responsible union, we will not be part of those who want to destroy public universities and this is why as law-abiding and patriotic citizens we obeyed the court order and suspended our strike,” he said.
On the peaceful protest, Maigoro said that the exercise was to call on the government to pay the eight months withheld salaries of its members and to honour agreements it reached with the union.
“ASUU is saying ‘no’ to the casualisation of academics in the public universities through the payment of pro-rata salary as well as withholding of its eight months withheld salaries.
“We call on Nigerians to impress on the government the need to adhere to and honour agreements it freely and willingly signed and entered with the union, including the conclusion of the renegotiation of 2022.
“It is on the basis of these that our national body directed all chapters to hold this peaceful protest and lecture-free day to register our concern on the attempts by few Nigerians to destroy public universities,” he said.
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