The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has requested that the Federal Government remove universities from the list of agencies required to pay 40% of their internal revenue.
ASUU explained that universities were not revenue-generating agencies in a statement signed by its National President, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, on Tuesday after its National Executive Council meeting at Kaduna State University, Kaduna, saying that the obligatory fees paid by students were to provide the necessary tools for them to be properly educated.
According to the announcement, the NEC meeting was held from Saturday, November 11, to Sunday, November 12, 2023, and discussed issues affecting the university system and the country.
According to Osodeke, withholding 40% of IGR from universities will impoverish the university system.
It read, “NEC reviewed the implications of the recent directive to federal universities to remit 40 percent of their internally generated funds to the coffers of the government. The NEC condemns the directive in its entirety because it would further impoverish and emasculate the Nigerian university system.
“For the avoidance of doubt, universities are not revenue-generating agencies because the obligatory fees paid by students are to provide the necessary tools for them to be properly educated. NEC calls on the relevant institutions of state to remove universities from this category of government ministries, departments, and agencies regarded as revenue-generating centres because of their implications for affordability and accessibility of education in the country.”
During the meeting, ASUU decried the Accountant General’s Office’s deliberate attempt to further impoverish its members by refusing to pay their promotion arrears since 2018.
It added, “NEC noted with grave concern the deliberate attempt by the Accountant General’s office to further impoverish our members by the refusal to pay their promotion arrears of majority since 2018.
“NEC also reviewed the unsatisfactory reports on payment of the withheld eight months’ salaries by the government on account of the patriotic strike action of our members in 2022. The NEC calls on the Federal Government to unconditionally release all the withheld salaries as a demonstration of the new administration’s desire to permanently resolve all outstanding issues related to the last strike action of our union.”
The NEC was concerned about the continued victimization and onslaught against its members at the Federal University of Technology, Owerri, Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, Kogi State University, Anyigba, Ebonyi State University, Abakaliki, Lagos State University, Ojo, and others, according to the statement.
It noted that the NEC appreciated the tenacity of these victimized colleagues in these and other branches, while also urging the relevant authorities to respect ASUU members’ fundamental human rights to dignity, freedom of association, and speech.
Also, Osodeke said in the statement that the NEC condemned the unrelenting efforts of the National Universities Commission “to continue with the imposition of the Core Curriculum Minimum Academic Standards on Nigerian universities, despite its documented shortcomings and rejection by university Senates and academic/professional associations. NEC reaffirms its position to pursue the rejection of CCMAS to a logical conclusion.”
The statement maintained its previous stance on the unlawful dissolution of university governing councils without recourse to the statutes creating them.
ASUU also criticised successive governments for failing to honour various agreements struck with the union, particularly the 2009 FGN/ASUU Agreement.
Meanwhile, ASUU stated that the NEC meeting coincided with this year’s Heroes Day, which was set aside to honour ASUU members who had made tremendous contributions to the union’s development as well as those who paid the supreme price in the service of the union and for a better education system in the country.
It added, “The Heroes’ Day was marked with a special lecture titled “Economic Crises, Government Responses, and Tertiary Education in Nigeria,” delivered by Professor Sheriffdeen Tella, and the award of scholarships to selected indigent but brilliant students in all public universities in Nigeria.”