ASSU Laments Average Nigerian Professor Earns $213 Monthly, Kicks Against TETFund’s Support For King’s College, London

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The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has expressed opposition to moves by the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) to provide support for King’s College, London to establish in the country.

Recall that TETFund explained the move forms part of its partnership with the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) towards establishing a medical school in Abuja.

In addition, the Executive Secretary of TETFund, Arc. Sonny Echono, during a visit to his office by a senior delegation from the King’s College within the week in Abuja, stated the plan.

Echono expressed delight over the Abuja medical school project and added that the Fund is always ready to partner with various bodies in the area of research to address challenges facing the country.

“Giving our heritage and long years of partnership with the UK, we are always delighted to have opportunities for collaboration on various fronts.

Echono explained that in recognition of the huge challenge the country, especially in the area of life sciences is facing in medical sciences and the huge foreign exchange expended annually on medical tourism to so many countries on the globe, the country will be able to deliver tertiary health care to its people.

However, expressing opposition to what it described as the abuse of violation of TETFund by the government, ASSU Lagos Zone during a press briefing held at its University of Lagos (UNILAG) ASUU secretariat said there are areas in the education sector that the agency can strengthen its interventions to the benefit of Nigerian universities.

The conference that was addressed by the ASUU Lagos Zone Coordinator, Comrade Adelaja Odukoya assured the Nigerian students and the general public that the union will not relent in ensuring that TETFund lives up to its core responsibilities for which the agency was established for the betterment of tertiary education in Nigeria.

ASUU stated, “As if the abuse and violation of TETFUND by the government are not enough, our Union has further noted reports in the media, not refuted, of TETFund’s intention to help Kings College, London to establish a medical school in Nigeria in the name of partnership.

“We urge the leadership of the Fund to provide further update on this proposed course of action, and allay fears that it is contemplating funds meant for the development of Nigerian institutions for the development of foreign ones.

“We believe very strongly that there are many areas in which the agency can strengthen its interventions to the benefit of Nigerian universities.

“Our institutions are capable of attracting vital partnerships, collaborations and exchanges that contribute to national development, provided they have the needed training and facilities for cutting edge research.”

ASUU emphasised that the plethora of challenges facing universities in the country should be the primary responsibility of the Fund, as opposed to aiding foreign institutions to set up shop in Nigeria.

Comrade Odukoya added, “TETFUND is a product of ASUU struggles for the betterment of tertiary education in Nigeria. Our Union will not relent in ensuring that it lives up to that core responsibility.”

The union lamented that the implication of repeated termination of the Renegotiation of the FGN/ASUU 2009 Agreement meant that University lecturers in Nigeria have been on the same salary since 2009 when the Naira exchange rate was N120 to a Dollar.

ASUU Lagos Zone Coordinator added, “The exchange rate is now N1,950/dollar.

“Today, Nigeria’s highest-paid professors earn an average of $213 a month at the current rate.

“This is among the world’s least! The governing class in Nigeria appears committed to the willful immiseration of Nigerian academics, with all the possible consequences for the nation’s future.

“As a gesture of goodwill and assurance of hope for Nigeria’s public universities, ASUU has reached out and waited on the current government to address this issue, with no encouraging response unfortunately.

The Union again urges the President Tinubu-led administration to promptly revisit the Nimi Briggs-led renegotiated Draft Agreement for signing and implementation based on the current realities given today’s exchange rate that has made nonsense of the agreed salaries for academics.

Other areas of grievances addressed by the union are withheld salaries, unpaid arrears of Earned Academic Allowance, Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System, Public Universities and the Treasury Single Account (TSA), proliferation of universities, and revitalisation of Universities, recall of sacked ASUU-LASU officials and release of the White Paper on LASU 2021 Visitation report.

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