Poor infrastructure, funding for public varsities responsible for incessant strikes — ASUU UNIJOS

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), says poor infrastructure and inadequate funding of public universities by the Federal Government were responsible for the incessant strikes by lecturers.

Chairperson of the University of Jos chapter of the union, Dr. Jurbe Molwus, said this during a town hall it organised on Thursday in Jos.

He added that the failure of the federal government to honour agreements it reached with the union over the years had contributed to the industrial disharmony between the lecturers and government.

“As a union, we are very reluctant about going on strike; we find it very painful anytime our members resolve to embark on industrial action.

“But the failure of the government to honour agreements it reached with the union is largely behind recurrent strikes.

“ASUU has entered a series of agreements with the government but all of them ended as promissory notes.

“Most of our public universities are now an eyesore; no basic infrastructure like lecture halls, equipped laboratories, among others, and this because successive governments refused to properly fund education,” he lamented.

On the rationale for the town hall, Molwus said that it would provide an opportunity for the union and members of the public to interact on the challenges currently facing public universities in Nigeria.

“This meeting will give us the opportunity to discuss with Nigerians from all walks of life and fashion best ways of tackling the current challenges confronting university education in Nigeria.

“We have called you here to tell you our side of the story as a union and to hear from you how best we can collectively move our education system out of its current quagmire,” he said.

Speaking at the event, retired Prof. Sylvester Alubo, called on the federal government to grant full autonomy to public universities, insisting that such a move would enable optimal productivity in the institutions.

“Granting full autonomy to the universities will solve a lot of challenges confronting our educational system.

“This is the practice in other climes; the government doesn’t interfere in the running of universities,” he said.

Alubo, who decried the proliferation of universities in the country, also called on the federal government to urgently address the situation.

The retired professor added that poor remuneration of university lecturers was responsible for the increasing ‘Japa’ syndrome among lecturers.

He called on the government to review the salary structure of the lecturers to reflect global standards and current economic realities in the country.

The Vice Chancellor of the University of Jos, Prof. Tanko Ishaya,  commended the union for organising the town hall.

The Vice Chancellor also called on the federal government to address all demands of ASUU, insisting that the demands were critical toward having functional and productive universities in the country.

The town hall had parents, students, market and transport unions, security agencies, government officials, among other critical stakeholders in attendance.

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