A Professor of Economic History and Secretary General of the Committee of Vice Chancellors of Nigerian Universities, Yakubu Aboki Ochefu has stated that the federal government must soften its stance and recognise that university settings are unique and must be recognised.
Prof. Ochefu added that people need to be compensated for work done because the work has to be done and for that government must understand and accommodate these peculiarities.
Speaking on TVC Breakfast with Sam Omatseye and Veronica Dan-Ikpoyi, Prof Ochefu stated that ASUU has for the past thirty years drawn the attention of government to some of the issues bedeviling the union.
The Professor of Economic and History noted that government is not being sincere when it says it does not have money for education.
“Government says it cannot borrow money for education. If you cannot borrow money for your children’s school fees, what else can you borrow money for?
“The increase that we spoke about has been analysed, salaries of University workers have not been increased in nearly 12 years”
“The eight hundred thousand naira agreed upon by the MimI Briggs committee and the federal government is the same salary that professors were receiving ten years ago.”
Prof. Ochefu urged the federal government to give ASUU what is reasonable and fair, pointing out that most lecturers were paid less than in other countries.
He said these and more are burning issues which needs to be addressed by the government.
Speaking on autonomy, the Secretary General Committee of Vice Chancellors stated that the laws regarding autonomy are clear.
According to Prof. Ochefu, the law establishing universities states that you can manage your finances, whereas the office of the accountant general states that you must obtain clearance and pay your salary bill from a single source, and the office of the Head of Service states that you must obtain clearance before anyone can be recruited.
He pointed out that these are based on the laws and circulars that claim they have the authority to do so.
“We must put the claim that universities are under-utilising their autonomy into a broader framework.
“We must have these discussions in order for our universities to reopen and for students to return to class in order to salvage what little remains of the academic session. Then, and only then, can we have these brutally honest discussions about the nature and character of our university system, particularly in the context of governance and autonomy”.