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ASUU kicks against student education loan, calls for intervention in tertiary institutions


 The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Calabar Zone, has vehemently opposed the proposed Student Education Loan of the Federal Government.

 

It described the loan as not only “strangulating” but has the capacity of subjecting the benefiting students to slavery, perpetual debt, depression and eventual suicide.

 

Addressing a press conference in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State capital on Monday, the Zonal Cordinator of ASUU, Happiness Uduk flanked by all the Chapter Chairmen of the zone said it was disheartening that the people who attended schools on scholarship, enjoyed meal subsidies, bursary awards among others were the ones making some of these obnoxious policies saying that the union would not relent in opposing such policies.

 

Uduk in a statement jointly signed by the eight union Chairpersons reasoned that instead of giving loans for students education; FG could use the money for interventions in higher institutions saying that such would bring about positive turnaround of events that would make the institutions self reliant with highly subsidized tertiary education in the country.

 

According to her, “It is disheartening that people who attended schools on scholarship,enjoyed meal subsidies, free laundry services and bursary awards are the same running our economy today. Their Children are on scholarship in the best foreign universities in the world but after siphoning our economy, they turn around to impose a strangulating Education Loan in tax payers’ children so that they will be enslaved and remain indebted to the country forever. They do not mind the devastating effect of this scheme on the country, such as depression, suicide, and collosal loss of intellectuals.

 

“To this end, we vehemently condemn the idea of Education Loan and state clearly that using the money for intervention in higher Institutions will be about a positive turn-around of events that will make our institutions self reliant on highly subsidized tertiary education in Nigeria.”

 

The union also called on the federal government to come to a renegotiation table and reconvene a committee to review the agreement reached by ASUU leadership and Prof. Nimi Brigs-led Government committee with the view of adjusting the document according to the current economic realities so as to have acceptable salary structure for university lecturers.

 

The union also condemned the indiscriminate proliferations of universities in Nigeria without adequate funding by both the Federal and state governments, noting that 2020 ASUU-FGN Memorandum of Action (MoA), which stressed the need to review the NUC Act to make it more potent in arresting the reckless and excessive establishment of universities, should be fully implemented.

 

“We urge the President Tinubu-led administration to refrain from further proliferation of universities and rather consolidate on the already existing ones. What we need are universities that are adequately equipped and empowered to address the challenges confronting Nigeria, not glorified schools,” the statement added.

 

On the ongoing minimum wage negotiation, the ASUU Calabar Zone urged FG to immediately deploy the instrumentality of collective bargaining to conclude the social dialogue, saying that such would lessen the invasive decline in the socio-economic lives of Nigerians.

 

It further urged federal, state and local governments to take a critical look at all unworkable policies and programmes sponsored by international money lenders such as the World Bank and IMF with a view to reclaiming the country’s sovereignty and restoring the confidence of Nigerians.

 

The union, however, advised governments and her agencies to read the Act establishing universities and stop interfering and threatening the autonomy of the universities, especially in terms of policy, academic planning and administration, even as it advised that suspended members in Ebonyi State University be recalled in obedience to the declarations and orders of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria.

 

It added that outstanding salaries of academics in all institutions should be paid without further delay, noting that failure to accede to their demands would make them embark on industrial action, even as it regretted that it resorted to strike to press home its demands as that was the only language the government understood.

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