The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has disagreed with a proposal by the Federal Government of Nigeria to slash N50.76 billion from the N111.78 billion budgeted for Universal Basic Education Commission, and also slashing of healthcare budget to 26.51 billion from the 44.49 billion allocated.
ASUU stated that it would be an indication that the Federal Government had not learnt any good lesson from the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic.
ASUU made its position known through the University of Ibadan branch Chairman, Professor Ayo Akinwole. He said that a serious and progressive government would not allocate funds for any rehabilitation of government buildings or purchase of buses at the expense of critical sectors like Health and Education.
“I have not seen this kind of government. A top government official claimed he never knew our Health institution is this precarious and the government that has not allocated sufficient funds to that sector is further reducing it!”, Akinwole said.
ASUU urged President Muhammadu Buhari not to cut down the budget of Health and Education sectors in the proposed 2020 revised budget.
ASUU further advised that Federal Government Nigeria should not defraud the nation by muddling up budgeted Social Intervention Funds with donated funds meant for palliatives for the vulnerable to cope with COVID-19, which has negatively affected their livelihood.
ASUU stated that the proposed cut by the Buhari Government showed that the government was totally lacking in understanding of the precarious state of things in Nigeria’s Health and Education sectors.
Akinwole stated that the distribution of the palliatives seemed fraudulent as the reactions from Lagos and other states of the nation indicated that government officials were profiteering from palliative distribution.
“They are also muddling up palliative being distributed. We sense that lack of transparency is ending in fraud and profiteering from the deprivation of the downtrodden. Most Nigerians are on the fringe and any mismanagement of palliative distribution will be counter productive to the fight against the pandemic”, he started.
The Akinwole advised that vulnerable people in slums, commercial drivers, Okada riders, food vendors, luggage porters among others must be target of the government to cushion the effort of lockdown on the citizens.
He also advised federal and state governments to include journalists in palliatives being distributed saying over fifty percent of journalists we’re not being paid salaries while many have been owed over a year salaries.