ASUU STRIKE: Outgoing Vice Chancellor Advocates For Better Strike Strategies 

By: Abdul Isa, Niger State

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The Outgoing Vice Chancellor of the Federal University Of Technology Minna in Niger State North Central Nigeria, Professor Abdullahi Bala, says the strike as a strategy by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) is an outdated means of negotiation with government in the country.

Prof. Bala who stated this during an interaction with the media  in Minna, says declaring strike actions is gradually killing Nigeria’s university system.

He, however, urged the union to adopt other avenues of negotiations and  restrategise it’s style in a more practical and convincing manner for peace and stability of universities in the country.

The Outgoing VC said“As academics we have to start thinking of other ways of addressing germane issues rather than things that are not necessary. Issues that has to do with the proliferation of state universities should not be an issue to be dragged by the ASUU.

“Education is in the concurrent list in the 1999 Constitution. It is very clear, and states have the right to establish their university, and the National Universities Commission (NUC) is expected to ensure that these universities meet the basic requirements.”

Prof. Bala says rejection of the ASUU’s  Transparency Accountability Solution (UTAS) payment system by the Federal Government was not necessarily the main problem universities encountered, but the inability of universities to directly recruit staff without the approval of either the Head of Service, Federal Character Commission or the Budget Office of the Federation.

“Even if the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) is replaced with the UTAS you still have to get permission from the Head of Service for staff log on to the payment system,” he says.

Prof. Bala who decried government criticism on funding university education in the country,  appreciated  commitments of government  agencies  for their various interventions  in the  development  of university education in the country.

He said “Government is annually spending a lots of money on educational development in the country either directly through appropriation , Tertiary Education Trust Fund ( TETFUND), National  Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) National Communications Commission (NCC), Petroleum Trust Development Fund (PTDF) , Federal Ministry of Works, and others for various projects and scholarships to staff of universities across the country.

“Looking at the quantum of finances to education by government agencies you will realized that the government is doing a lot in terms of improving University  education in the Country”

The Outgoing VC commended the giant stride of the FUT Minna Alumni for setting aside over N50 million for supporting indegent students of the universities by  2023 to curtail mass drop of students from completing their various programs in the university.

“The Senate observed that large number of students were applying for deferment of their admission , or dropping out for financial reasons ,as such we set up a fund to mobilize financial assistance from different sources  for them to at least get their registration fees,” he says.

Prof. Bala said the university is  collaborating with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) on the frontier exploration service within the Bida and Sokoto Oil Basins to further scale up exploration activities in the region. He confirmed that  in few months their will be enhanced exploration activities both within the Bida and Sokoto Basins.

“The NNPC  has commissioned, FUT Minna, Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida University (IBBU) Lapai, Federal University Kebbi and  University of Sokoto to undertake environmental impact accessment within the Niger, Bida and Sokoto Basins for intense exploration activities and the reports have been submitted already  for further action,” he says.

The Outgoing VC appealed to organizations and wealthy individuals to enhance funding of universities across the country, adding that government alone can not adequately fund university education in the country.



Olusola Akintonde

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