By OSENI YUSUF, Ibadan
Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has warned President Muhammadu Buhari against cutting down the budget of Health and Education sectors in the proposed 2020 revised budget.
The Union also said that Government should not defraud the nation by muddling up budgeted social intervention funds with donated funds meant for palliatives for the vulnerables 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.
In a release signed by the University of Ibadan Chairman of the Union, Professor Ayo Akinwole, the ASUU boss said it is now obvious that 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 50.76billion from the 111.78billion budgeted for UBEC to bring it down to 61.02billion and a cut of 26.51billion from the 44.49billion allocated to Basic Health care to bring it down to 17.98billion naira.
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 has evident in the COVID-19 pandemic brought all political, economic, religious, among other activities to a halt.
On the palliative being distributed, Akinwole lashed out at the Buhari Government for stopping salaries of lecturers for refusing the quest of the government to break the laws thereby making over 30,000 lecturers and there 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 indicated that government officials are profiteering in 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 federal and State government to include Journalists in palliatives being distributed saying over fifty percent of journalists are not being paid salaries while many are being owed over a year salaries.
“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 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”