The Kano Zone of Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU has said that Nigerian universities are poorly equipped to cope with the COVID-19 protocols for school resumption.
In a press conference in Kano on Tuesday, Acting Zonal Coordinator of ASUU, Kano zone, Comrade Abdulkadir Muhammad stated that the outbreak of COVID-19 has exposed the infrastructural deficit of universities and entire education sector in the country.
According to him, universities in the country are in no way safe for resumption in view of lack of running water and electricity, overcrowded classes, poorly spaced hostels, poor laboratories, libraries and lecture rooms.
Muhammad attributed the problem to the failure of the federal government to heed to the ASUU’s calls for proper funding of universities to make them globally competitive.
He lamented that the government had breached all the agreements with the union, including the 1992, 2001, 2009 Memorandum of Understanding, 2017 Memorandum of Agreement, NEEDS Assessment reports, noting that the agreements had made adequate provisions of infrastructural needs OG the universities to make them cop with any pandemic like COVID-19.
“The outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic in the country has laid a bare or naked the infrastructural deficit not only in our universities but other sectors of education.
” This is as a result of continuous refusal of government to heed to ASUU calls for proper funding of our universities to make them globally competitive since 1992.
“With lack of running water and electricity, overcrowded classes, poorly spaced hostels, poor laboratories, libraries and lecture rooms and staff offices, which of our universities will satisfy the requirements of social distancing?
” Therefore, Nigerian universities are poorly equipped to cope with the COVID-19 protocols as outlined by the NCDC,” he said.
The acting coordinator however noted that the introduction of Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System, IPPIS had severe consequences on the university system as manifested in the termination of appointments of visiting lecturers.
He cautioned that if the trend continues, many programmes in the universities will have to close down for lack of qualified and experienced manpower to run them, noting that “the sacked visiting lecturers, and the closed programmes could be absorbed by private universities owned by the Nigerian ruling elites.”
“By implications, that would result in downgrading the standard of public universities. This must be stopped.
He insisted that ASUU is against IPPIS, calling on the federal government to respect all the agreements with the union in the 2019 MoA, rather than hiding under the guise of COVID-19 to refuse to address the lingering issues.