The Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, through its National President, Nasir Fagge, has explained the real reasons behind some of the lingering crises in tertiary institutions across the country.
In a telephone chat with P.M.NEWS Campus Square recently, Fagge noted with disdain, the unfair treatment being meted out to their members by the governors of the states where the troubled schools are situated. Cross River University of Technology, CRUTECH, is one of such schools. Its lecturers have been on strike since last year, while Lagos State University, LASU, could not hold its convocation ceremony last month, as the institution’s Vice Chancellor, Professor John Obafunwa, was reportedly sent out of the school premises by striking workers.
Reacting to the issues disrupting students academic activities in these institutions, Fagge said the state governments must be held responsible for the problems in their states.
“You cannot expect our people there to continue working without getting paid. The state government in Cross River is not paying our members their entitlements as well as their salaries.
“The case here is really simple. The state governments should do what is expected of them and the lecturers and students will return to the classroom,” he explained.
Fagge also asked parents to put pressure on the state government as it the one responsible for the continuous industrial action.
He said: “I believe that the parents are supposed to put pressure on the state governor and not ASUU. We are in a democratic setup, the parents there should exercise their power as the people for whom the government was made.
“The lecturers at CRUTECH are old enough and some have their children as students in the institution as well. So, you can see that they cannot also be comfortable with the actions of the management.”
On the ‘unending’ crisis in LASU, Fagge stated that the institution’s VC does not understand what running a university is all about.
“You cannot continue withdrawing degrees which people are qualified for as you please. The VC is now usurping the power of the senate and taking decisions indiscrimately.
“There is something we call Academic Freedom and University Autonomy, people heading universities should be conversant with and abide by it.
“Let me set the facts straight. ASUU will never accept a situation where children of the poor will be sent out of school at the expense of the rich.
“That was what they were planning at LASU with the astronomical fees increase before we started the agitation and the fees were reverted in the institution. The VC of LASU wants to run down the university and people are looking at him.”
While proffering solutions to the LASU crisis, Fagge added: “the governor of Lagos State should set up a visitation panel that will look into all the issues within the institution and make recommendations.
“The panel has to consist of neutral people and it is their recommendations that will be followed in resolving the problems at the institution.”