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ASUU strike justified, says Afe Babalola

Urges FG to source for funds to settle Union

Kehinde Adewole, Ado Ekiti

Legal luminary, Aare Afe Babalola, has said the strike action embarked on by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to push for her demands to raise the standard of university education in the country  is justified.

Babalola who is former Chancellor of the University of Lagos and had recorded huge development in the institution during his term, decried the poor state of teaching and infrastructural facilities in public tertiary institutions in the country, urged

President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government to source for money to ensure proper funding of university education and to meet some of the demands raised by ASUU.

Chief Babalola made the remarks at his university, ABUAD during a brief event to make the institution’s 9th anniversary. He said the institution has attained an enviable height within nine years it began operations, saying any staff , either academic or administrative , whose action draws back the hand of the clock would be sanctioned.

Babalola commended the staff for their commitments that had contributed to ABUAD becoming a leading university in Nigeria, warning that the management shall wield the big stick against staff  not supporting the vision of the institution, which was to bring a paradigm shift to university education.

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He said it sounded disgusting that the FG could earmark seven  per cent budgetary allocation to fund education, when the United Nations Educational and Socio Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) recommended 26 per cent.

“I have been Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Council, University of Lagos(UNILAG) and I knew that the universities lack facilities and equipment to be of high standard.

“In our universities, students are not resident in schools, some stayed outside the lecture theatres to receive lectures, some even used forest as toilets , Lecturers are not paid as and when due, all these are intolerable.

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“So, ASUU’s case is strong this time and I support them in spite of the fact that I have been criticising them in recent past, but I stand with them this time,

“FG must look for funds to make our universities be of high standard.

UNESCO recommended 26 percent, but FG still allots as low as seven percent to education. FG must increase allocations to universities and monitor how the monies are appropriated, because accountability has always been our problem.

“ASUU alleged that over 70 percent of the projects in our universities are uncompleted for lack of funds and corruption, this is wrong.

“ In ABUAD, we complete our projects in time. We built our Planetorium within six months, some federal universities started theirs  10  years ago and they have not completed it”, he said.

Babalola  said ABUAD has become one of the best universities in Nigeria within nine months because the management works extra hard to monitor the lecturers and students to be able to embrace the vision.

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“In the law school examinations conducted in 2018, 12 ABUAD students got first class with one emerging overall best. They presented 36 prizes and our students carted away 24 of them. This showed that keeping the students here under monitoring was working.

“We shall continue to celebrate  those staff who are working to keep the standard we set and we have achieved for ourselves. But whoever wants to bring it down among the students and teachers  shall be sanctioned, those who don’t want to share our vision must go away.

“From next week Monday, we will begin teachers’ annual assessment to be able to know those who are working for our glory here and they shall get their rewards”, he promised.