June 12, 2024

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End N1bn Daily School Feeding Programme To Fund Education, Meet ASUU’s Demands, Kalejaiye Tells FG

3 min read

Mojisola Lawal

A Traditional ruler in Otumara Community in the Lagos Mainland of Lagos State, High Chief Kehinde Kalejaiye has lent his voice to the call for an end to the ongoing strike actions by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).

ASUU has been on strike since November, 2021 over the failure of the Federal Government to implement the Memorandum of Action (MoA) it signed with the Union in 2020 on funding for revitalisation of public universities (both Federal and States), renegotiation of the 2009 FGN/ ASUU Agreement and the deployment of the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS).

Other demands of the union as listed by ASUU include Earned Academic Allowances, State Universities, promotion arrears, withheld salaries, and non-remittance of third-party deductions.

Weighing the impacts of the incessant strike actions on the academics pursuits and future of the students, Kalejaiye described the strike actions as avoidable, if the Federal Government is sensitive to the plights of the ASUU and that of an average Nigerian.

High chief Kehinde Kalejaiye

He queried the rationale behind the Federal Government spending about N1bn daily to feed an estimated 10 million pupils under the Nigeria’s National Home-Grown School Feeding Programme but failed to secure the future of youths of the country and improve on the standard and quality of education.

He said, “This month makes it six months since the strike action embarked upon by ASUU.

One cannot but wonders about the essence of governance when such an important issue of national interest is left unattended to.

If the Federal Government is more interested in feeding school pupils daily with N1bn but failed to accede to the demands of university lecturers then the country is in serious trouble.

If the Federal Government is eager to award fictitious contracts amounting to billions of Naira but failed to put an end to incessant strike actions that have crippled and rendered half-baked Nigerian graduates then the future of the country’s youth is in jeopardy.

We have seen the representatives of the Federal Government dilly-dallying on the negotiation table with ASUU while the Senate and House of Representatives who are the voices of the people seem unperturbed about the ugly development.”

Kalejaiye, however appealed to stakeholders in the education sector, the Senate, members of the House of Representatives, State Governor’s and members of State House of Assemblies across the country to speak out and prompt the Federal Government to act end incessant strike actions.

He said, “The solutions to the ASUU is at the doorstep of the Federal Government. For me, I don’t believe in the scarcity of funds excuses by the government. If we are to place our needs on a scale of preference, I think the need to educate the country’s youths should outweighs the school feeding programme which is shrouded in fraud and embezzlement.

The government needs to call off the school feeding scheme and empowers Nigerians to feed their children while the amount budgeted on the programme daily be shifted to fund education to meet the demands of ASUU.

How many Nigerians have the wherewithal to enroll his child at a private university? This is why the FG should pay a lot of attention to the education sector to add value and substance to the life of an average Nigerian.”

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