Home » ASUU Demands Action on Anti-Poor Policies from Tinubu Administration

ASUU Demands Action on Anti-Poor Policies from Tinubu Administration

Academics Struggle as Economic Policies Deepen Poverty, Union Claims

by Adenike Adeodun

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) in the Benin Zone has issued a strong call to action to President Bola Tinubu’s administration, urging for immediate and impactful measures to mitigate the adverse effects of what they term “anti-poor policies.” These policies, according to ASUU, have plunged Nigerian academics and the wider populace into severe poverty and hardship. The Benin Zone of ASUU, encompassing prestigious institutions such as the University of Benin, Ambrose Alli University, and several others, voiced their concerns during a press briefing in Benin, Edo State, highlighting the dire situation facing public universities in Nigeria.

Dr. Monday Igbafen, the Zonal Coordinator for ASUU Benin Zone, outlined the critical issues, including the dramatic devaluation of the Naira, the government’s failure to honor previous agreements, and the neglect to cushion the economic hardships faced by Nigerian academics. He pointed to the 2009 Agreement, intended to address the decay in public universities, which remains unimplemented, exacerbating the living and working conditions for university staff.

Igbafen lamented that the government’s inaction and insensitivity have not only affected the welfare of lecturers but also compromised the quality and competitiveness of Nigerian universities on a global scale. He highlighted the alarming fact that the highest-paid professors in Nigeria now earn a monthly salary equivalent to a mere US$210 on average, one of the lowest globally, underscoring the urgency for change.

The union leader also emphasized the ongoing challenges of underfunding and governance within Nigerian universities, exacerbated by the Naira’s declining value against international currencies. Igbafen called for the immediate review and signing of the Nimi Briggs-led renegotiated draft agreement, warning that any delay could lead to a crisis.

ASUU Benin Zone criticized state governments for adopting neoliberal policies that abandon university funding, with Edo and Ondo States cited as prime examples. The union condemned the Edo State Government’s complete withdrawal of funding from Ambrose Alli University, leading to selective and non-payment of salaries and arrears. Similarly, the Ondo State Government’s inadequate funding of its universities was highlighted as a critical issue requiring urgent attention.

Igbafen appealed to the governors of Edo and Ondo States to prioritize education by adequately funding tertiary institutions, reminding them that education is foundational to national development. Despite ASUU’s willingness to collaborate with the Edo State Government to resolve the challenges at Ambrose Alli University, Igbafen expressed disappointment in Governor Godwin Obaseki’s reluctance to engage in dialogue with the union.

This situation underscores a broader crisis within Nigerian public universities, driven by economic policies and governmental neglect that threaten the quality of higher education and the livelihoods of those who work within the sector. ASUU’s call to action aims to spotlight these issues and mobilize support for meaningful reforms that can reverse the trend of decline and ensure the sustainable development of Nigeria’s educational institutions.


Source: The Guardian

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