By Rasaq Adebayo
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has told the National Assembly to compel every public office holders to withdraw their children from foreign universities and enroll them in Nigeria.
The Union asked the lawmakers to make a law that will restrict the public office holders to send their wards to public schools in the country, saying such a step would let the officials know the decay in the public universities.
ASUU President, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, gave this charge in Abuja at the reconvened meeting with the federal Government, being conciliated by the Minister of Labour and Employment.
Speaking before the meeting went into a closed-door, Osodeke said, “We hope that the government will make it mandatory that if you accept a government appointment, your children must attend universities in the country.
“The National Assembly must formulate a law that if you take an appointment, your children must study here. If you know that your children cannot be here, don’t take government appointments.
“When you hear those in the government who send their children to schools abroad say that ASUU goes on strike, they should know that strike is not the problem. The problem is the issues afflicting the universities; nobody is interested in tackling them.
“Look at the budget we have seen recently, it is exactly the same thing we have been seeing. Nothing has changed. And this country is paying the high price for neglecting education – the banditry you see, the kidnapping and what have you, is because people are not being taken care of.
“That is why ASUU has been struggling, so that Nigerian universities will be revamped, so that as our children go outside for learning, other children from other countries will come here too and pay to this country in hard currency.”
Earlier in his remarks, Ngige assured that the Federal Government would not abandon the public universities in spite of dwindling resources and reiterated the government’s readiness to work with ASUU and others interested in revamping the educational system.
“ASUU is not asking for things that are impossible. They are not asking that we give them our head or blood. They are interested in getting good working conditions for their members and for the public university system to be conducive for teaching and research,” the minister said.