Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN) branch, says their members are ready to commence strike as soon as they get directive from ASUU national headquarters in Abuja.
Comrade Christian Opata the Chairman of UNN-ASUU disclosed this in a statement issued on Thursday in Nsukka after the union congress.
Opata urged parents, students and the general public to prevail on the Federal Government to do the needful by fulfilling the Memorandum of Action (MoA) it entered with the union on December 23, 2020, to avert the impending nationwide strike.
According to the statement jointly signed by the chairman and his Secretary, Comrade Michael Nwokedi, the union was pleading with the government not to push ASUU back to the trenches.
“Our children in public universities have suffered enough, the government should do the needful and stop toying with academic future of Nigeria children.
“We beg Nigerians to plead with the government not to push the union into going back to strike again,” he said.
The ASUU boss expressed disappointment that agreements successive governments entered with the union since 2009, none had been fully implemented.
“Government appears to be more at home in killing indigenous knowledge and discouraging local content, if not, why is it that government preferred Integrated Personnel Payroll Information Systems (IPPIS) developed abroad to University Transparency And Accountability Solution (UTAS) developed by Nigeria University lecturers.
“It is unfortunate that our public universities are now glorified secondary schools because of government negligence.
“Government is always in a hurry to establish new universities but not committed to equip and maintain existing ones to international standard,” he said.
The union alleged that there had been plans by successive governments to make public universities unaccessible to the poor because the children of those in government, either studying abroad or private universities in the country.
“Government wants to throw on a system where the poor will never have access to tertiary education given the way and manner they shy away from their responsibilities in education.
“State Governments are also involved in this act of negligence. as some of them owe state universities staff up to four months arrears of salary,” Opata said.
Opata expressed concern, why it must take protest, strike to sign an agreement with the government, another protest, strike and interventions by eminent Nigerians before the government would show some sense of responsibility to honour the agreement it willingly signed with ASUU.
Meanwhile, 69 indigent undergraduates of the University of Nigeria Nsukka, Delta State origin on Thursday received a scholarship award of N50,000 cash each from a philanthropist.
Prof Charles Igwe the Vice-chancellor of UNN in a remark Nsukka while presenting the scholarship certificate and N50,000 cash to beneficiaries thanked the donor, Chief Jude Ozah the Isagba of Ogbashi-Uku kingdom in Delta State for investing in education.
Igwe who was represented by Prof Uju Muo, the Director of Academic Planning in the university, urged the beneficiaries to use the money for the purpose it was meant for in order to encourage the donor to invest more in education and humanity.
“I commend the donor for assisting these indigent under-graduates from his state to enable them to graduate on their course of study.
“The beneficiaries should use the money for the purpose it is meant for as well as strive to make first-class on graduation to encourage the philanthropist to invest more on education,” he said.
The VC commended Prof Aloysius Okolie, Dean, Faculty of Social Science in UNN who attracted the scholarship award last year when the donor came to the university.
Speaking, Okolie explained that the donor had in April 2021 while chairing a public lecture of the Faculty of Social Science instituted the N10m scholarship award for indigent Delta State students.
“This N10m revolving scholarship scheme to be known as Chief Dr.Jude & Yolanda Ndudi Ozah Scholarship Scheme is to assist indigent students in UNN from Delta State.
“The faculty is grateful to the donor for his generosity, philanthropy and favorable disposition towards UNN and Delta State students in particular.
“We thank him for this rare sacrifice and huge investments on the poor, today 69 students shortlisted by the Scholarship Faculty Committee and approved by the donor will receive N50,000 cash to assist them in their education.
According to Okolie, more students from Delta would benefit from the scholarship fund, by April the committee would select new beneficiaries who would receive money for the scholarship, school sundry fees, and their upkeep.
“Delta State under-graduates in UNN will continue to benefit from this scholarship fund until the last kobo is given out,’ he said.
The Dean commended Mr. Anthony Okolie, the chairman of the 5-man Chief Jude Ozah Scholarship Committee for demonstrating transparency, honesty and integrity in administering the process.
The don urged beneficiaries to ensure they made judicious use of the money given to them, so as to justify the purpose it was donated by the philanthropist and who is a lover of education
Earlier, Anthony Okolie thanked the donor, school administration, Dean and Associate Dean of the Faculty for creating the enabling environment for the committee to do its work.
“I am glad that the committee demonstrated a high level of all-inclusiveness in the selection process, subject to the final approval by the donor.
” I urge beneficiaries to always be of good behaviour throughout their stay in the institution and to reciprocate this kind gesture by putting in their best so as to graduate in’ flying colours’,” he said.
Speaking on behalf of other beneficiaries, Courage Onovieraye from Ughelli South LGA, a 300 level student of the Department of Accountancy, thanked the donor and promised that they would study hard in order to make good results on graduation.
“Our prayer for the donor is that God will replenish his pocket in billion folds, for putting smiles on the faces of the poor, ‘ she said.