The Academic Staff Union of Universities(ASUU) has on Monday, August 31, kicked against the Federal Government’s plan to reopen Tertiary institutions, nationwide without taking concert measures to curb the spread of COVID-19.
ASUU also said that Universities clamoring for the re-opening of Nigeria Universities are those serving as cash cows to some governments.
The Union Described the Federal Goverment action as suicidal, warning that it should be ready for any possible negative consequences following its plan to reopen tertiary institutions.
The Coordinator of ASUU Calabar zone, Dr Aniekan Brown of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, University of Uyo (UNIUYO) who made the assertion while briefing newsmen today in Uyo, stressed the need for members of the public to know that it was unreasonable to contemplate re-opening universities.
According to him, the facilities to ensure the safety and lives of Nigerian students and lecturers are not yet in place.
In another development, the Coordinator of ASUU Lagos zone, Prof. Olusiji Sowande, while briefing newsmen at a press conference held at the Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State, accused the Federal Government of arranging special bailout funds for airline operators and other private entities but did not extend the same arrangement to public universities.
According to him, it is not good enough to ask students to resume to their campuses without talking into considerations right atmosphere and conditions.
He said there are not adequate accommodations, no facitilites on ground to check physical distancing in large and crowded classes.
Sowande, father stressed that there is no reliable supply of light and water in the universities.
He said that that years of neglect of both the education and health sectors in the country has resulted in inadequate infrastructure and lack of well equipped diagnostic, testing, treatment, and research laboratories in both sectors.
Sowande said “The response of the public universities to the call by the National University Commission for their readiness to reopen indicated that public universities are not ready.
“Presently, hostel accommodations are inadequate, no facility on the ground to carry out physical distancing in large and crowded classes, water and electricity supply are not reliable, etc.
“Reopening tertiary institutions without taking concrete steps to address these issues would be suicidal. While the government made arrangements for special bailout funds for airline operators and other private entities, no such arrangement was made for public universities.
” Therefore, the government should be ready to take responsibility for any possible negative consequences after the reopening of universities.”
Speaking on the ongoing strike, Sowande said the union had written to relevant government agencies with a view to finding steps to putting an end to the industrial action.
He said “It seems to us that some government officials are benefiting from the prevailing situation. We demand that the OAGF must immediately remit all illegally withheld check-offs and other third party deductions with accrued interests.