The Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, has on Sunday, warned President Muhammadu Buhari against cutting down the budgets of Health and Education in the proposed 2020 revised budget.
The Union also said that the Buhari government 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 livelihoods.
ASUU stated that the proposed cut by the Buhari government, shows the government as totally lacking in understanding of the precarious state of things in Nigeria’s Health and Education sectors.
A statement signed by the Chairman of the Union, University of Ibadan Chapter, Professor Ayo Akinwole, noted that it is now obvious that the government has not learnt anything from the Covid-19 pandemic, on the precarious state of facilities in Nigeria’s Health and Education sectors.
The Federal Government is proposing a slash of N50.76 billion, from the N111.78 billion budgeted for UBEC, to bring it down to N61.02 billion, and a cut of N26.51 billion, from the N44.49 billion allocated to Basic Healthcare, to bring it down to N17.98 billion.
Akinwole stated that a serious and progressive government will not allocate funds for any rehabilitation of government buildings, or purchase of buses, but will face critical sectors like Health and Education, which as evident in the Covid-19 pandemic, brought all political, economic, religious, among other activities, to a halt.
On the palliatives being distributed, Akinwole lashed out at the Buhari-led government, for stopping salaries of Lecturers, for refusing the quest of the government to break the laws, thereby making over 30,000 Lecturers and their over 50,000 dependants, vulnerable at this time.
Akinwole stated that the distribution of the pallatives seem fraudulent, as the reactions from Lagos and other States of the nation, indicate that government Officials are profiting from the palliative distribution.
The ASUU boss, advised that vulnerable people in slums, commercial drivers, okada riders, food vendors, luggage porters, among others, must be targeted.
According to Akinwole, while the stoppage of salaries to Lecturers is a sign of lawlesness and tyranny of the Buhari government, members of the Union will not be cowed in their resolve to fight for the revitalisation of public funded education, and the sanctity of the laws of the land.
He then advised the Federal and State Governments to include Journalists in palliatives being distributed.
“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!
“They are also muddling up palliative being distributed. We sense that lack of transparancy 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 said.