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ASUU Warns of Crisis as Nigerian Education Declines

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has raised concerns that education in Nigeria is in jeopardy, describing academics as an “endangered species in Nigeria’s existential space.”

Prof. Monday Igbafen, the Zonal Coordinator of ASUU’s Benin Zone, highlighted these issues during a press conference in Abraka, Delta State. He criticized the government’s recklessness regarding the union’s concerns and called on stakeholders to urge the government to take necessary actions. Igbafen attributed the decline in education to governmental neglect and mismanagement.

Expressing frustration over infrastructural decay, poor funding, and the proliferation of universities, Igbafen stated, “ASUU is dismayed by the government’s lack of sincerity in addressing critical issues, which has worsened the living and working conditions of academic staff in public universities over the years.”

He warned that the government’s failure to tackle these challenges invites crisis. “A crisis is imminent if these and other unresolved issues are not urgently and reasonably addressed by the government,” he asserted. Igbafen pointed out that the unchecked establishment of new universities, which partly caused the prolonged strike action in 2022, continues without adequate funding, calling it a misguided approach detrimental to educational progress.

He noted that the 2020 ASUU-FGN Memorandum of Action emphasized revising the Nigeria University Commission (NUC) Act to control the proliferation of universities without proper budgetary provisions. Igbafen criticized politicians for treating new universities as constituency projects, straining the resources of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund). He urged the government to halt the proliferation of universities and instead fund existing ones to enable them to compete globally.

Accompanied by Dr. Ray Chikogu, chairman of ASUU UNIBEN, and Dr. Paul Opone, newly elected ASUU DELSU chairman, among others, Igbafen insisted that ASUU would continue to pressure the Federal Government to address all issues, including the absence of governing councils in federal and state universities, until proper actions are taken.

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