Fred Ezeh, Abuja

University lecturers under the umbrella of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) have boasted that they are the reason public universities are still in existence.

The lecturers claimed that, if not for their strong insistence on a better system, the public university system would have collapsed long ago, saying government never showed interest and commitment to the cause of quality public university education system.

ASUU said it was sure that public universities would have gone the way of public primary and secondary schools which have nearly gone into extinction due to inadequate support, attention and funding from government.

ASUU President, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, who was a guest on Channels Television morning programme, Sunrise Daily, on Monday made reference to infrastructural transformation being experienced in public universities due to the intervention of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund).

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He said: “TETFund is a brainchild of ASUU and the evidence of its interventions are there for all to see. If not for TETFund, the infrastructural and other development deficit in public tertiary institutions would have been loudly pronounced. Other human capacity opportunities wouldn’t have come. TETFund’s intervention is conspicuous in all public universities across Nigeria.”

He, thus, asked parents and students to disregard the effort of some people, in and outside government, to discredit ASUU and incite the people against the Union, encouraging them to join ASUU’s fight for a better University system that would support research and development, as well as human capacity development.

Prof. Ogunyemi added: “We are not happy that students are at home instead of being busy with academic and non-academic works in school. I have two undergraduates in my house, and so does other members too. The situation affects us too. So, this fight is not majorly for the welfare of our members as being claimed by some people, but the betterment of the entire university education system.”

On the contentious University Transparency Account System (UTAS), Prof. Biodun insisted that the platform locally developed by ASUU is more efficient than Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) currently being used by the Federal Government in management of its personnel.