The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has asked the Federal Government to fund or close universities.
Prof Emmanuel Osodeke, the National President of ASUU, said in a phone chat with The PUNCH on Sunday.
He stated that the government must implement the 2009 deal it reached with the union.
Osodeke said these in response to the Minister of Labour, Employment and Productivity, Dr Chris Ngige, who during an interview with Channels Television on Thursday, stated that the Federal Government did not have the funds to meet its obligations in the agreement signed with ASUU.
However, the national president of ASUU, Osodeke, said anything concerning improving and investing in the universities, government would always say it had no money.
He stated, “The Nigerian type of politician does not take education seriously. Can they tell this country how much they spent on COVID-19? I can assure you the crisis in education is 10 times what COVID-19 is because what shapes a nation is education. If it collapses, you have nothing. They were building railways here and there, They were bailing out DISCOs (electricity distribution companies) which they sold to private people, but they are still buying meters for them to sell to Nigerian people. But when it has to do with education that will shape this country, they will say they don’t have money.
“They are increasing their tour allowances. You know they move round all over the world. You saw the wife of the president celebrating birthday in Dubai and all governors’ wives were there with their aides. They have hundreds of millions of naira for their children (‘s education) in the UK; they have money, government money. But to fund education, they don’t have money. We have told them they either close down the universities and prepare for youths or let’s for once solve this problem and move ahead so that we start having foreign students who will pay in dollars as school fees, foreign lecturers will come here to teach; so that we don’t pay this huge amount we are using to move Nigerian students from Ukraine to Nigeria. They had money to go and move the children of the rich from Ukraine. They spent over $8m, but to fund Nigerian universities, they don’t have money. It is not true, they have money they are just playing games.
“The children of the poor will suffer in Nigerian universities while their children will have good education outside the country. When they are through, they come back here and take the juicy jobs here, and keep lording it over the children of the poor. It’s a class issue. For us, the option is for them; they shut down all the universities and let all the children go and learn mechanics or they fund the universities.”