With the latest commencement of a nationwide strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) over lingering funding issues, Dr. Olawale Babalakin, SAN, has said the federal government should be supported as it cannot afford to fund university education alone. Babalakin was speaking as the chairman of the Implementation Monitoring Committee of the Agreements entered into between the Federal Government of Nigeria and the various unions of the Nigerian universities. They includ ASUU, Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU), National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT), and Non-Academic Staff Union of Universities (NASU).
He said, “Our position as a team is that Nigeria deserves and should have quality education. This must not be compromised as a result of inadequate funding, which has been the situation in the last 30 years. We also believe that no Nigerian should be deprived of university education because of his/her financial circumstance. This position is consistent with that of the current government. Going by the figures provided by ASUU, Nigeria requires over N2 trillion per annum to fund university education. This figure exceeds, in value, the total amount of money available for all capital projects in Nigeria, including health, infrastructure, security and others. No doubt, if the money was available for university education, as ASUU has insisted it is, the government will have no difficulty in spending it on university education. However, as it is, government cannot ignore all other areas of expenditure that require funding.”