Tension in FUTO over Patami’s professorship as ASUU says ‘heads will roll’ | NN NEWS

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There is palpable tension at the Federal University of Technology, Owerri (FUTO), after the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), said on Monday that it would sanction its members, including the Vice-Chancellor and others involved in the conferment of Professor of Cybersecurity on the Minister of Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Patami. 

News Band had reported that ASUU faulted the promotion of the Communications and Digital Economy Minister as a professor and rejected the appointment. 

The union after its National Executive Council meeting declared the promotion a nullity and threatened to wield the big axe against anyone found culpable, setting up an investigative committee. 

The union said the minister should resign his position for breaching due process as he cannot be a serving minister and still occupies a professorial seat in a university. 

The union’s National Executive Council Meeting, NEC, the National President, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke stated this in Lagos while briefing the press on the outcome. 

He said it was unfortunate that the education sector had been left to rot by the government. 

Osodeke said the union would embark on a four-week rollover and comprehensive strike from Monday, February 14, 2022, because the government has failed to meet their demands. 

*A lot of shenanigans are being perpetrated by people in government. One is the professorship conferred on Minister Isa Patami. He is neither a lecturer at FUTO and if he wants to be, let him resign his position and go and teach. All those involved would be sanctioned by our union including the Vice-Chancellor. 

“Proliferation of universities is embarrassing. Every senator now has a bill in which they are demanding that universities be set up in their constituencies without adequate provision made for the funding. We are suggesting that the law mandating the National Universities Commission, NUC, to license new universities to be amended to ensure that at least a new university would have a take-off grant of not less than N30 billion kept somewhere. 

“Some state governments that are owing lecturers in their universities over six months’ salary arrears are also setting up new ones, that is a huge joke, where will they get money to fund them?”, He asked. 

The union also frowned at the role being played by the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board, JAMB, in the admission of students into higher institutions, especially the universities. 

“It is the duty of the Senate of a university to admit students into the university. The role of JAMB is to conduct the matriculation examinations. Now the board has taken over the role of the Senate and it is going beyond its brief. Admission is purely an academic affair, not an administrative one,” he said. 

On what would happen after the expiration of the four-week warning strike, Osodeke noted that the union would appraise the situation and take the next step. 

Commenting on the union’s stance, the National President of the National Parent Teacher Association of Nigeria, NAPTAN, Alhaji Haruna Danjuma, said that the strike was not an indefinite one was somehow commendable. 

“We thank God that the strike is a warning one though it is slated to last four weeks. We sincerely hope that before the time runs out, the government would have satisfied the yearnings of the union. We are tired of seeing our children at home doing nothing. We have started contacting our national executive members to decide on the next line of action. 

“If we are able to do it we would not mind meeting with the President and the Minister of Education on the matter. We should not waste the time of our youths, enough is enough,” he said. 

Also commenting on the development, the South-West Coordinator of the National Association of Nigerian Students, NANS, Comrade Stephen Tegbe, said the association was studying the situation and would react appropriately later. 

“However, if there is a need for Nigerian students to go on the streets to protest and draw attention to our plight, we will not hesitate to do that. Education should be given the priority it deserves. We are tired of this one week in school two weeks at home. We want a decisive step taken to resolve all the issues,” he said. 

Recall that ASUU has been at loggerheads with the government over some issues including the payment of Earned Academic Allowance, revitalization fund, the discontinuation of the use of Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System, IPPIS, and replacing it with the University Transparency and Accountability System, UTAS among others. 

The union went on a nine-month strike in 2020 over the same issues. 

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