VICE CHANCELLOR of Al-Hikmah University, Ilorin, Noah Yusuf, has said strikes by university staff unions in the country show that the Federal Government is not serious about education.
The unions, including Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Non-Academic Staff Union of Universities (NASU) and Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) have been embarking on industrial actions over outstanding agreements with the Federal Government.
Yusuf spoke in Ilorin, Kwara State, while announcing the accreditation of 34 of Al-Hikmah University’s programmes by the National Universities Commission (NUC).
He said the endless strikes are damaging Nigeria’s image in the comity of nations.
The sociology professor said the unions’ demands are insignificant compared to the trillions of Naira the current administration claimed it had spent on the school feeding programme.
“Incessant strikes by unions in the country’s public universities put a question mark on the government’s seriousness on education.
“Government claims to be spending trillions of Naira on its schools feeding programme. Now, one asks what is the big deal about the requests of ASUU and NASU?
“We are talking about the future of our country. More so, one of the fundamental causes of the current security challenges in the country is illiteracy,” Yusuf said.
The professor said a sound education system would help reduce insecurity in the country because, according to him, someone who is well trained will not allow himself to be recruited by either bandits or Boko Haram insurgents.
Meanwhile, President of the Students Union Government (SUG) Obafemi Awolowo University, Olayiwola Folahan Festus, has said Nigerian students are tired of staying at home due to the endless strike action by university staff unions.
He accused the government of insincerity, noting that there was no sign that it was ready to address the reasons behind industrial action.
The student leader warned that Nigerian students may take the ‘bull by the horns’ to force the government to act.
Speaking in a statement, Festus said, “We have exhausted our patience, perseverance, and calmness.
“It is doubtful that the government will make hay while the sun shines and avoid Nigerian students unleashing terror to force them to do the needful.
“As the election approaches, not only are we going to upset the political engagements of the political class, we shall engage every aspirant on how they intend to address the crisis in the educational sector, most especially the frequent strikes of unions, including ASUU, NASU, and SSANU, on our campuses.”
He called on the Federal Government, to as a matter of urgency, attend to ASUU’s demands and ensure that students resume within the next two weeks.