The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has urged the Federal Government to bar state governments proposing to establish new universities from accessing the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETfund) for a minimum of 10 years.
The union added that owners of proposed universities- whether federal or state- should provide a verifiable growth plan for providing not less than 75 per cent of their pensionable staff complement plus the provision of requisite infrastructural facilities.
ASUU hinge on its demand on the precarious state of state-owned universities in Nigeria.
National President of ASUU Prof Victor Osodeke told reporters in Ilorin, Kwara State capital at the end of the union’s national executive council meeting.
Prof Osodeke expressed his dismay on the declining fortune of state-owned universities and their neglect by state governors “whose responsibility it is to fund, staff, equip and make the universities nationally and globally competitive.
“Unless urgent and necessary steps are taken, our state-owned universities may soon collapse beyond redemption.”
Continuing, Prof Osodeke said “politicians in the Fourth Republic have turned establishment of state universities into projects for appeasing electorate in their senatorial and state constituencies. While neglecting the existing state universities, some overzealous state governors have increased the rally to two or three.
“The more bizarre cases were governors who brazenly pronounced the creation of three or four state universities in one fell swoop. Nigerians should be worried that state universities, which should serve as an elixir to the provision of university education, has turned into an albatross for the Nigerian university system.
“Besides non-funding of capital projects, most state governors have also failed in the primary responsibility of regular payment of staff in their universities. Our recent analysis has shown that only five of the state-owned universities have their monthly subventions corresponding with their monthly wage bills. 17 state universities receive monthly subventions far below the monthly wage bills, thereby forcing these institutions to augment salaries from so-called internally generated revenue (IGR).”
ASUU chief rejected charging of exorbitant tuition fees in state universities, saying “it places university education beyond the reach of common Nigerians.