The Academic Staff Union of Universities has raised the alarm over an alleged plan by the Federal Government to return the Structural Adjustment Programme “through the back door” 24 years after its introduction by the regime of the former dictator, Gen. Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida (rtd) in 1989.

According to ASUU, government should reject “the reintroduction of SAP through the back door”.

It noted that its four months old strike would continue until government shows genuine commitment to the 2009 agreement.

The union said the introduction of what it described as dictatorship of the International Monetary Fund and SAP that was used to kill public schools in the late 1980s.

The chairman of ASUU, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, Prof. Ade Akinola, in an electronic message to our correspondent on Monday, said the government should show patriotism and ensure that the university teachers return to work.

He said, “Patriotism demands that the government should reject the dictate of the international financial conglomerate and the reintroduction of SAP through the back door, under the superintendence of the Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.

“Otherwise, why the rush to imbibe this strange doctrine that basic education is what Nigeria needs? The implication of this is that government should minimally spend or disengage from spending on tertiary education. Yet, we are in the age where knowledge is the difference. Wilful collapse of public institutions and subordination of national interest to private one must stop.

“In fact, patriotism makes it imperative for the government to see, as ASUU foresaw four years ago, that the 2009 agreement constitutes the vital tool to mitigate the collapse of the public university system, as we sadly already witnessed at the levels of primary and secondary education, largely due to governments’ neglect.”

According to him, the public primary schools thrived up till the late 1970s. Akinola said soon after, palpable decay set in and by the end of 1980s the decay culminated into a total collapse.

He added, “Similar fate gradually befell the public secondary schools. This became pronounced with the advent of SAP introduced by the Babangida administration. Thus, we started to harvest public secondary education collapse, so much so that even the Federal Government Colleges of the yore became unattractive.”

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Medical Association has expressed great concern over what it described as “continuous closure of Universities in Nigeria” due to the inability of the Federal Government to resolve its face-off with ASUU members.
President, Dr. Osahon Enabulele, in a statement issued on Monday, said the crises would impact negatively on the quality of graduates being produced by Nigerian universities.

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