The Muhammadu Buhari administration needs to stop playing politics with the academic future of Nigerian youth, an association which is “concerned” about the unending inaction at Nigerian universities has said.
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has been on strike for the better part of 2020 following multiple points of disagreement with the federal government. ASUU has warned that the strike could last for years, advising that students learn a trade as the impasse continues.
The government wants ASUU to join the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS), saying doing so would curb corruption and boost transparency. The government is reportedly refusing to pay the salaries of lecturers who are yet to join IPPIS.
ASUU says joining the platform would break university autonomy as well as create other problems.
The chairman of Dollar Club Exclusive and former President of the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA), Dr Jerry Oguzie, has placed the blame at the feet of the Buhari government which it accused of playing politics with education.
“We are perturbed that ASUU has been on strike for the past six months, we are perturbed that our children are no longer in school, we are worried that our children are losing what they know,” Oguzie said.
“The FG should address the issue and stop playing politics with that.
“It’s only in Nigeria that one will know when he enters the university without knowing when he will graduate.
“A course that was supposed to run for four or six years would run for six to ten years due to persistent strike action. And it is high time the government addressed this issue once and for all.
“Then the question should be, how much is even needed to sort ASUU out?
“You can imagine how much had been spent on frivolities in this country. We read recently how dollars stacked in one room, rotten, was discovered in one part of this country, so what are we talking about?”
On why ASUU has refused to shift grounds and register with the IPPIS, Oguzie said:
“It is only ASUU that is in a better position to say what is good for their members. IPPIS will not save the country from the purported corruption.
“I am a medical doctor, and no one can speak better of a health issue than us, the same is with ASUU, no one can speak better of the institution than them. ASUU knows what it wants and not for the federal government to tell them to go left or go right, they know what they are asking for and the federal government should listen to them.
“But think of it, has IPPIS saved us from the monumental corruption in the country? I expect the federal government to say, OK, give us one to five years, or thereabout to pay, but for FG to stick on the ground and say move before we move, is unacceptable. They should come to a negotiating table and resolve the issue. We are not happy as a group.”
Oguzie made the comments during a media briefing in commemoration of the burial of Dollar Club Exclusive’s grand patron Justice Ime Umana in Uyo on Thursday.