Trojan News :: Real Time News


Hold Government Responsible For The Impending Paralysis In Nigerian Public Universities, ASUU Fumes

THE Benin Zone of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has come down heavily on the federal government over unresolved issues between ASUU and the Government.

At a press conference held in Delta State University Abraka, Delta State, on 22nd May, 2024, signed by the Zonal Coordinator, Prof Monday L. Igbafen, the union reinterated its stance that the federal government must play by the rules or risks industrial paralysis.

“On behalf of the Benin Zone of Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), I wish to welcome you all to this press briefing. The Benin zone of ASUU comprises University of Benin, Benin City, Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba Akoko, Olusegun Agagu University of Science and Technology, Okitipupa, Delta State University, Abraka, Federal University of Petroleum Resources, Effurun, and University of Delta, Agbor.


“The press briefing is to alert critical stakeholders and the general public to yet another avoidable impending paralysis in Nigeria’s public universities owing to the action and inaction of Government. It is sad to note that Nigeria is fast assuming the status of a failed state as evident in crises in education, security and other critical sectors of the country.

“The debilitating and suffocating impact of neo-liberal policies of government at both the Federal and State levels have undoubtedly undermined public good and other good things of life in the country, including the welfare of academics. As a result, not only is education in the doldrums, academics in Nigeria have become the endangered species in Nigeria’s existential space.

“It is against this backdrop that the National Executive Council (NEC) of ASUU at its regular meeting at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife between 11TH and 12TH May, 2024 discussed the state of the Union and the Nation with particular emphasis on the response of Federal and State Governments to the sundry issues affecting the Union. In the process, the Union observed with dismay the failed promises of the Federal and State governments towards the issues that forced the Union to embark on a prolonged national strike action between February and October 2022.

“In particular, the Union was irked by the obvious lack of sincerity on the part of Federal and State Governments to address critical issues which have worsened the living and working conditions of academic staff in the public universities.


Recall that our Union (ASUU) has been confronting the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) on a number of issues for a very long period. The issues include the stalled renegotiation of 2009 FGN/ASUU Agreement; the absence of Governing Councils in all Federal and some State Universities, the Earned Academic Allowance (EAA); the withheld salaries/promotion arrears/third-party deductions; illegal recruitments; proliferation of public universities/abuse of universities’ rules/processes, and TSA/New IPPIS.


Central to the unresolved issues between Government and ASUU is the demand to conclude the renegotiation of the 2009 FGN/ASUU Agreement. Gentlemen of the Press, you are not unaware that government had been foot dragging on the need to conclude and sign the renegotiated 2009 Agreement which commenced in 2017.

After a tortuous exercise, a draft Agreement was reached with the Professor Briggs-led Committee in 2021. Unfortunately, agents of the Buhari government refused to approve of the draft Agreement for reasons best known to them! The then Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, played the leading role in truncating the successful conclusion of the FGN-ASUU renegotiation process that had lasted for more than four years.

It is disturbing to note that the reviewed agreement with the Briggs-led government team has remained in its draft form from 2021 till date and the most obvious implication of this is that university teachers in Nigeria have been on the same salary regime since 2009 when the value of Naira to a dollar was N120. It is better imagined to note that what a professor at bar earns in today’s Nigeria is about $400 per month which is a scandalous under-valuation of the scholars.The Union and its members have endured enough and there is no long story on this anymore.

The Union believes that the satisfactory and conclusive renegotiation of the Agreement and its successful implementation is the desirable recipe for the worsening living and working conditions of staff, the pandemic problem of underfunding and other challenges of university governance in the country. Indeed, the depressing existential condition has made it expedient on the President Tinubu-led administration to immediately set in motion the process leading to the review and signing of the Nimi Briggs-led renegotiated draft agreement as a mark of seriousness and assured hope for Nigerian academics and Nigeria’s public universities. Any further delay on this path is an invitation to crisis.


The Union has observed with dismay the festering culture of illegal dissolution of the Governing Councils of public universities in the country, as well as the refusal or neglect by some state governments to manage state universities with Governing Council. While the Federal Government has hastily reconstituted the Governing Councils of Federal University after 11 months of their illegal dissolution owing to threat of industrial action by the Union, some state governments have remained adamant to the contrary.

This unwholesome act has led to unthinking aberrations in the universities with the introduction of obnoxious polices that are antithetical to the university culture. A classic example is Ambrose Alli University (AAU), Ekpoma, a classic example of a state university in the country where there have not been a Governing Council for 3 years with a strange body supposedly playing the role of a Governing Council. Associated with the absence of Governing Council is the assault on the University’s autonomy, highhandedness, impunity, illegal recruitment and unprocedural discipline of staff as well as the management of university finances without regard for transparency and accountability. The Union condemns in strong terms the intransigence of some state governments to allow state universities to operate in accordance with the Laws establishing them and call on the defaulting State Governments to urgently return state Universities to ideal administration of a university by constituting Governing Councils for them.


The proliferation of universities was one of the issues that precipitated the 2022 prolonged strike action by the Union. In 2020, the ASUU-FGN Memorandum of Action (MoA) stressed the need to review the NUC Act to empower it to arrest the reckless proliferation of universities by Federal and State Governments without adequate budgetary provision to fund them. A joint Committee of ASUU and NUC submitted a draft bill to the National Assembly on this matter. Till date, nothing has been heard about the bill.

The reckless establishment of universities by politicians, most of which are seen as constituency projects, has put much pressure on the intervention funds provided by the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund). Indeed, most of these institutions are derisively regarded as “TETFund” universities. While the idea of building and establishing more universities to meet the growing demand for university education by Nigerians is not completely out of place, the Union is disturbed by the motive and rationality behind the establishment of more than one university, for example by some State governments when it is obviously clear that they lack the financial capacity or capital to meet the demands of one university not to talk of two or more.

This ugly phenomenon is fast spreading among many States whose governors have engaged in establishing spree of more new universities without serious consideration for their adequate funding. The states that have been caught in this myopic idea include Edo, Ondo, Kano and Osun where state-owned universities are in shambles. The universities share in the misfortune of suffering from the same malaise of severe underfunding and neglect. The Union urges the Federal and State Governments to halt the proliferation of universities and adequately fund the existing ones, to enable them compete with Ivory Towers in other parts of the world.


Gentlemen of the Press, you are also very much aware that funding for revitalization of public universities has been central to the struggle of our Union as evident in all our agreements and memoranda with governments. Recall that it was with the 2022 struggle that the Federal Government claimed to have budgeted the sum of one hundred and seventy billion naira (N170 billion) in the 2023 budget. The Union’s understanding was that N120 billion was meant to address part of the outstanding Needs Assessment Intervention Fund while the balance would go into paying one of the agreed tranches of EAA (Earned Academic Allowance).

It is sad to note that government has not released any fund to the universities based on the understanding thereby frustrating all efforts to address infrastructural decay in the universities and to meet the legitimate earnings of staff. It is equally sad to inform you that the mainstreaming of EAA which was supposed to commence in 2022 has remained a mirage at both federal and state universities. This is a time-bomb for industrial crisis. We seriously frown at government’s deliberate uncooperative attitude to keep faith with our MoU of 2013 which provided for N1.3 trillion over a period of six years for the restoration of universities to a level at which they could attract foreign students and become renowned for cutting-edge and transformative research.

Our Union has consistently condemned state governments that have been infested with neoliberal policies and World Bank recommendation to abandon the funding of their universities. Edo State Government is a classical example in the country as government whose underfunding posture is worrisome and anti-tertiary education. While Ekiti and Delta States has continued to sustain increased funding to it state universities, there is complete withdrawal of funding to Ambrose Alli University (AAU), Ekpoma by the Obaseki-led administration.

This is the bane of the multi-faceted problems bedeviling the state university, leading to selective payment of salaries, non-payment of salaries of many staff for 28 months and unpaid arrears of check-off dues and other sundry deductions for several years. The insensitivity of the Edo State Government to adequately fund its university calls for urgent redress. We call on the Federal Government and the government of Edo to keep faith with the slogan that education is the bedrock of development and nation building by adequately funding their tertiary institutions.


The Union frowns at the lingering problem of withheld salaries in federal and some state universities and called on the Federal Government and Visitors to state universities to as a matter of urgency pay up all withheld salaries of members without further delay.


Gentlemen of the Press, the Union is disturbed by reports of victimization and persecution of our members in some universities. We particularly condemn the unending crises at the Kogi State University (KSU), Anyingba; Ebonyi State University (EBSU), Abakaliki; Lagos State University (LASU), Ojoo; Ambrose Alli University (AAU), Ekpoma; Federal University of Technology Owerri (FUTO), Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University (COOU), Igbariam; and other universities where our members have been illegally sacked and their salaries are withheld for unjustifiable reasons. We call on the Federal Government and Visitors to State Universities where our members are being persecuted to, as a matter of urgency, take steps to resolve all lingering matters and give their universities a new breathe of life.

Gentlemen of the Press, the issues highlighted in this Press Briefing have been on for the last one decade. These include the review of the 2009 FGN/ASUU Agreement, revitalization fund for public universities, earned academic allowances, exit from IPPIS, proliferation of universities, withheld salaries, promotion arrears, third-party deductions and illegal recruitments. The Union has emphasized again and again that the renegotiated 2009 FGN/ASUU Agreement was meant to kick-start the reversal of the decay in Nigerian public universities. Government has up till date neglected and refused its conclusive renegotiation and speedy implementation to stem the worsening living and working conditions in Nigerian public universities. This failure is no doubt a direct invitation to crisis and this crisis is imminent if this and other unresolved sundry issues are not urgently and reasonably addressed by government.

Aluta Continua
Victoria acerta
Thank you.

Monday L. Igbafen
Zonal Coordinator
Benin Zone of ASUU

22nd May, 2024.

About The Author