The Academic Staff Union of Universities on Sunday accused the Federal Government of establishing “mushroom” varsities with no funding options.
The union also noted that the universities have now become crisis centers with little to no hope of management.
A report by The PUNCH noted that plans were made to establish no fewer than 32 federal universities, polytechnics, and colleges of education across the country.
The issue of the proliferation of universities by the government at all levels has also become a matter of concern for stakeholders.
Speaking in the statement issued on Sunday, the National President of ASUU, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, urged the government to jettison the “politicisation” of universities.
Speaking on the promise to release the withheld salaries of members of the union by the administration of President Bola Tinubu, the academic union noted that any further delay in the release of the monies might lead to a complete mess of “what is left of the already devalued worth of the money”.
“One major fallout of our last struggle was the government’s decision to stop the salaries of our members as a ploy to force us back to work even when the substantive issues in the strike action had remained unresolved. Curiously, the seven-and-a-half months’ salaries remain unpaid even after we have done the work for which those salaries were held.
“It is hoped that the process of payments is fast-tracked before the unmitigated inflationary trends in the country make a complete mess of what is left of the already devalued worth of the money.
“Proper funding and running of the public universities – State and Federal – remains at the heart of our struggle for a university system which can drive national development and compete internationally.
“This informs our concern, among others, with the issue of the unbridled proliferation of state universities, which State Governors were fastly turning to mere constituency projects.
“We have several instances of states that are unable to fund their existing universities going ahead to establish more. In the process, such state governments only succeeded in creating crises centres rather than centres of excellence.
“Unfortunately, the Federal Government appears to have been bitten by the bug of mushrooming universities without giving thought to how to fund them. This sour point is still a work in progress for our union to combat.
“If our university system is to maintain the integrity of credible universities, as known in other sane climes, more work is required to get Nigerian politicians to embrace the idea of developmental universities as against the prevalent over- politicisation of university education,” the statement read.