Professor Biodun Ogunyemi, President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, has cried out to the public on Thursday 19 November 2020 that the union is consistently losing its members to private universities in Nigeria and Ethiopian universities due to neglect of the Federal Government to fulfil the agreement.
Prof. Ogunyemi made it clear on a television programme featured in Abuja that, threatening of the ASUU by the government to take court action over the on-going strike is not the right action.
He said, “Talking about options, whether they want to go to court and intimidate the union to surrender. You don’t do that with scholars, no country has ever survived it because we have options too.
“We talk about brain-drain now, I can tell you authoritatively that within the last two months, 25 scholars in the North-East have been harvested by this university in Yola. We know the owner. That is how it is happening, the private universities are poaching the public universities now because they can only thrive when the public universities crumble.
“We are also aware that some few months back, Ethiopia came to Nigeria, and harvested as many as 200 professors and they are still looking for more. I don’t know if the government wants their appointees to start teaching the students. Of course, many of them don’t have their children in public universities, that is why they cannot feel it. Our scholars are our national assets and we should not allow them to be decimated.”
Furthermore, the ASUU president stressed that any attempt by the FG as it may be to elongate the process of the integrity test being conducted on the UTAS’s software will not be permitted.
In addition, Prof. Ogunyemi said in contra to false statement portrayed by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, on Tuesday, UTAS’s integrity test would take just a week if the FG “is conscientious about the process”.
Chris Ngige had earlier been reported to have said it will take between 6-8 weeks before the integrity test of UTAS can be concluded.
But reacting on Thursday in the television programme, the ASUU president said, “On UTAS, I want to say that this thing about six, eight weeks is unfounded. I want to tell you categorically is if the government is sincere and conscientious about the process in motion now, within one week, we can put the integrity test behind us.”
“As at yesterday (Wednesday), we did a practical demonstration with more than 30 experts in NITDA, UTAS was demonstrated at NITDA yesterday and none of the experts faulted it. And with that, we are good to go.
“UTAS has no problem, UTAS has no blemish, UTAS is far higher in integrity, content and validity over the IPPIS. There is no basis for comparison. So, let no government official, no matter how highly placed slow down the process, otherwise, our members will resist it with all legitimate means,” Ogunyemi noted.