Students loan ploy to enslave Nigerian students – ASUU

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The Academic Staff Union of Universities, Calabar Zone has opposed the proposed Student Education Loan of the Federal Government describing it as a ploy to enslave Nigerian Students and make them remain indebted to the country forever.

Addressing a press conference in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State capital on Monday, the Zonal Chairperson of ASUU, Dr Happiness Uduk, 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 adding 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.

She added that such a move would bring about a positive turnaround of events that would make the institutions self-reliant with highly subsidized tertiary education in the country.

Uduk said “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 scholarships in the best foreign universities in the world but after siphoning our economy, they turn around to impose a strangulating Education Loan on taxpayers’ 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 colossal loss of intellectuals.

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

The ASUU chairperson 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 to have an acceptable salary structure for university lecturers.

She also condemned the indiscriminate proliferation of universities in Nigeria without adequate funding by both the Federal and state governments noting that the 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 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,” She said.

On the ongoing minimum wage negotiation, the ASUU Calabar Zone urged the 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.

She 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 to reclaim the country’s sovereignty and restore the confidence of Nigerians.

She, 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.

She 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 understands.

 

PUNCH

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