National President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke has opened up on how the union moved against the Federal Government’s plan to increase school fees of all university students to N1m.
Speaking while fielding questions from participants at a one-day ‘State of the Nation summit’ organized by the Bauchi zone of ASUU, he disclosed that the government presented the planned hike in fees during the last negotiation with the union.
Naija News reports that he had during this summit expressed the resolve of ASUU to take steps towards stopping the political elite from sending their children to study abroad when their parents are partly responsible for the rot in the Nigerian education sector.
Osodeke disclosed that the intention of the government was to open an education bank where each student would be given an annual loan of N1m at a five per cent interest rate to sponsor themselves. The student will then pay back when they graduate and start working.
According to him, “At the last negotiation, the first thing they told us was that we should negotiate for our allowances and salaries but we said no, let’s discuss funding first. When we know how much you’re going to pay, then we can negotiate salary. Reluctantly, they went on.
“Then, they raised another issue which was why we delayed for four years, that students must pay N1m as school fees every year; the government said 70 per cent will be paid to the university while the student keeps 30 per cent.
“We asked them where and how the students would source the money and they told us not to worry. They said they would open an education bank and the students would go there and take the N1m every year.
“And by the time you are graduating, you would have been owing N5m or N6m. If it takes you 20 years to get a job, that five percent interest on that loan would be building.
“We said we will never allow that, and that was why we went on strike and we delayed in calling off the strike.
“If we had accepted that students pay N1m as school fees, they would have increased our pay easily and who would the public and the students blame? It is ASUU.”