By Marie-Therese Nanlong
Jos – Away from its seeming confrontational posture, the University of Jos, UniJos Chapter of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU has added value to education as the Union donated a 1,000 capacity twin lecture theatre to the University as part of its efforts at addressing infrastructural problems in the institution.
The lecture theatre built and furnished at the cost of over N60 million was done through contributions by members of the Union who said they needed to contribute their quota to alleviate the plights of students.
Presenting the keys to the twin theatre to the Vice-Chancellor of the University, Professor Sebastian Maimako, ASUU President, Professor Biodun Akinyemi said the commissioning and handing over of the building is an historic event as it is a first of its kind and a demonstration that the unfounded accusation that ASUU always makes selfish demands from government is untrue.
According to Professor Akinyemi, “To the best of our recollection, this is the first time in the history of university education since 1948 that a campus-based union would conceive, implement and deliver a project of this magnitude for the use of staff and students of a university in Nigeria. Even the most virulent critics of ASUU cannot deny that the Tertiary Education Trust Fund, TETFund, an offshoot of the Education Tax Fund, ETF which is a product of the FGN-ASUU Agreement of September 1992, is what currently support infrastructural development of Nigeria’s tertiary institutions.”
Earlier, the UniJos Chapter Chairman of the Union, Dr. Lazarus Maigoro noted that, “The overriding motivation for the sacrifice and intervention made by our members to resolve to contribute N63.2million from their hard earned and meagre salaries to construct the building donated to the University and by extension, the federal government of Nigeria rests on the fact that the Nigerian University Education system is bedeviled by gross infrastructural deficit which the government seems to show very little concern.”
He added that the Union decided to embark on the project because “Government has not lived up to it’s responsibility of funding education. The situation is so bad that it is lecturers in the University who are erroneously perceived as strike mongers and very recalcitrant people that are using their salaries to build classrooms to assist the government and students.”
Receiving the keys, the VC represented by Professor Tanko Ishaya expressed gratitude saying the “remarkable” edifice shows that indeed ASUU struggles have been justified.
Goodwill messages were received from guests including Chairman of ASUU UniLag, Dr. Dele Ashiru, representative of of past UniJos ASUU chairpersons, Professor Namo, the UniJos Students’ Union Government, SUG, Peter Biringmiap among others and the theatre was named after Dr. David Jangkam a Unionist who died in active ASUU duties.