The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) in Nigeria last week urged the Nigerian government to, as a matter of urgency, declare a five-year state of emergency in the education sector by allocating 26 per cent of its annual budget to the sector.
The union claimed that the allocation of 26 per cent of federal and state governments’ budget to education would go a long way in resuscitating the sector and avert the plaguing crisis between it and the government.
The Sokoto Zonal Coordinator of the union, Jamilu Shehu, who disclosed this at a press conference in Katsina, said at least six per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) should be allocated to education during the period under review.
The Sokoto Zonal Office of the union comprises Umaru Musa Yar’Adua University, Katsina; Federal University Dutsin-Ma, Katsina; Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto; Sokoto State University; and Kebbi State University of Science and Technology, Aliero.
He said: “Government should declare a five-year state of emergency in the education sector. During this period, at least 6 per cent of the GDP or 26 per cent of the federal government budget, as well as 26 per cent of each state government budget, should be allocated to education during this period.”
He, however, said the imposition of what he termed the obnoxious Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS) on ASUU members by the federal government does not address the peculiarities of varsities’ academics and was not applicable to any other university system in the world.
He urged the government to accept the union’s ongoing innovation system of human resource management and compensation known as University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS), which he said tackle the peculiarities of universities and end recruitment racketeering in the system.
Shehu said the federal government has precipitated another feud in the university system by not remitting the third party deductions from the salaries of ASUU members in January 2020 and non-payment of February salaries.
He explained that the union would continue with its two-week warning strike to compel the government to address its demands as encapsulated in the ASUU-FGN Memorandum of Action (MoA) of February 7, 2020.
According to him, “Another related governance issues that call for the immediate intervention of federal government is the reconstitution of the governing councils that have served their terms and appointment of substantive vice-chancellors in universities where some individuals currently serve in an acting capacity.
“The case of Federal University Dutsin-Ma is particularly worrisome. It is inexplicable that the university could claim to have produced three acting vice-chancellors within two years with each drawing the full entitlements of a substantive vice-chancellor with five years tenure after serving for just six months. Nothing described this better than corruption.”