ASUU STRIKE: Students Set To Cripple Private Universities As FG Disburses N100 Billion

News coming in indicates that students of higher institutions are becoming restless as those under the umbrella of National Association of Nigerian Students, NANS, yesterday, took to the streets in Ado Ekiti, Ekiti State capital, calling on the Federal Government to accede to the demands of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU.

The students, who displayed several placards with various inscriptions, lambasted the Federal Government for its failure to honour the agreement it entered into with ASUU since 2009, and threatened to shut down activities in the private universities in the country should the crisis linger on.

Speaking on behalf of his colleagues, Asafon Sunday, Director of Action and Mobilisation NANS, South–West, claimed between 2000 and 2011 the Nigerian government earned about N48.48 trillion from the sale of oil alone, against N3.10 trillion earned between 1979 and 1999

He said the Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, in 2012 financial year alone generated N5.12 trillion from tax paid by the masses.

According to him: “With this tremendous upswing in the revenue at the disposal of the Nigerian government, one would have expected such to translate to commensurate improvement in the quality of Nigeria’s public education as well as other social services.”

He condemned the refusal of Federal Government to budget a reasonable amount of money to education sector as recommended by UNESCO which is 26 per cent of the country’s total budget.

Also speaking, Steven Adara, a student leader from Ekiti State University, EKSU, lamented that government officials and prominent Nigerians were not bothered about the crisis in the public universities because their children were in private schools overseas. According to him: “We will mobilise and disrupt academic activities in the private universities because it is the sons and daughters of the rich that are in these schools.”

Meanwhile, the Federal Government has released N100 billion to be shared by 59 universities and another N30 billion, released by the Federal Government for 36 federal institutions in the country as contained in the letter written to institutions by the committee appointed by the Federal Government, headed by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Senator Anyim Pius Anyim, to mediate on the face-off with ASUU.

Addressing members of the union at the Nnamdi Azikiwe University (UNIZIK), Awka, on Thursday, the Vice Chancellor of the institution, Professor Boniface Egboka, said that out of the N100 billion released for infrastructural development, UNIZIK got N3.050 billion.

He further said that out of the N30 billion also released by the Federal Government to take care of earned allowances which had been the bone of contention in the Federal Government and ASUU face-off, UNIZIK, got N1.184 billion.

The Vice Chancellor, recalled that Nnamdi Azikiwe University since its establishment in 1991, had not received the mandatory take-off grant of N500 million, adding that the university had only been working with its internally generated revenue (IGR) which had helped it in the 60 per cent development of the institution.

He further appreciated the tenacity of ASUU and other unions, adding that the strike was what made it possible for the assistance and praised the efforts of President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration for making sure that the face-off between the FG and ASUU, was amicable resolved.

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