Kolade Adeyemi, Jos

The Bauchi and Kano Zones of Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) have kicked against agitations for reopening of universities by stakeholders, amidst prevailing COVID-19 pandemic and the union’s strike.

The two zones at separate news conferences called on the Federal Government to provide necessary facilities to encourage compliance with COVID-19 prevention guidelines in the universities ahead of the school reopening.

At the ASUU Secretariat, University of Jos, its Zonal Coordinator, Prof. Lawan G. Abubakar, said the union’s position is that the Federal Government should not reopen universities until it has done the needful.

The union said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has clearly exposed the poor funding of our health institutions and particularly the educational institutions, which further shows there are fundamental issues which need to be addressed.

“They have failed to address the obvious issues because there is no commitment to the Nigerian state. The facilities that are needed in the educational and health sectors have not come to fruition yet.”

Also, Prof. Abdulkadir Mohammed, acting zonal coordinator of the union in charge of Kano, at a news conference on Tuesday in Kano, said provision of the COVID-19 safety guidelines were critical to the protection of students and staff as well as stem further spread of the pandemic.

He said: “The outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic in the country laid bare the infrastructural deficit, not only in the universities, but other sector of education.

“This is as a result of the continuous refusal of the government to heed to the ASUU calls for proper funding of the institutions, to make them globally competitive since 1992.

“Our previous agreements with the government in 1992; 2001, 2009 and 2017 NEEDs Assessment reports have all made adequate provisions for the infrastructural needs of our universities to make them cope with the COVID-19 protocols.”

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