AS Nigerian universities strike lingers, Biodun Ogunyemi, the president of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) said employers from Ethiopia came to Nigeria recently and harvested 200 professors from public universities.
Ogunyemi said this when he featured on Arise TV to discuss the ongoing strike, demands of the Union from the federal government and a possible brain drain after the strike.
“We are aware that a few months ago, Ethiopia came to Nigeria and harvested 200 professors from public universities, and they are still looking for more,” said Ogunyemi.
He added that within the last two months, 25 scholars from public universities were also harvested by a private university in Yola state.
Ogunyemi further stated that the reason Nigerian politicians fail to understand the demands of the Union on the revitalisation of universities is that about 90 percent of their children are not enrolled in public varsities.
“About ninety percent of Nigerian politicians do not have their children in public universities that is why they do not understand the demands we are making,” he further stated.
According to Ogunyemi, the revitalisation fund agreed between the Union and the FG in a memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed in 2013 was based on the needs assessment of public universities.
“The 2013 MOU on the report of a needs assessment of Nigerian Universities. The tranche that we asking for is to ensure that government goes back into the path where we said it is for fixing the utter decay in our universities,” he stated.
However, he lamented that what the Union has seen with the current administration is only promises that have not germinated into investment.
“What we have seen with this government is that it has been promising tokenism, they gave N20bn the other time, this time around they are saying they would give N20bn again as a sign of commitment. When will the commitment translate into an investment?
“The 2013 MOU was about investment in education, was about addressing the established decay and decadence that has become the lot of public universities in Nigeria. Today we have over 43 state universities and we are still counting, if we started with 68 universities but now we have close to 90 or over 90 state universities even the fund we agreed to inject into the universities will play into insignificance if we actually want to address the problem,” he stated.
Ogunyemi said as a sign of patriotism, the Union had said asked for 50 percent of the N220 billion tranche for revitalisation but ASUU is still making unreasonable and other forms of tragic labels.
On the disagreement over the payment of Public university lecturers, Ogunyemi said University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS has been tested by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) and it is awaiting its report.
However, on Wednesday, Chris Ngige, the minister of labour and employment said UTAS has no hardware and ASUU cannot afford to purchase the hardware.
“As we speak, ASUU has no hardware and UTAS does not have hardware backing.
“I am waiting for the NITDA full report but the preliminary report they gave me, the software integrity test will take them about six to eight weeks, and thereafter, we go to the hardware. But the big issue is who will provide the hardware?
ASUU doesn’t have the finances to do so. Has the government budgeted for it now as we speak? So, that one is a major problem. But we don’t have to dissuade anybody, we don’t have to tell anybody not to carry on, we like local content development, we need our things to be homegrown. So, we are really encouraging them,” Ngige said.