By Shehu Danjuma
The Sokoto Zone of Academic Staff Union of Universities ASUU, has expressed concerns over the activities of some Vice-Chancellors who deceive and defraud unsuspecting students and parents by pretending to keep the session running during the nation-wide lockdown in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic in universities.
Jamilu Shehu, the zonal coordinator, ASUU Sokoto zone made this assertion while briefing newsmen in Katsina on Thursday.
“We know of Universities where students were mandatorily made to pay for matriculation gowns in order to participate in online matriculation and graduation ceremonies”.
“There are reports that fraudulent online examinations were still being conducted in some Universities involving surrogate examinations such as parents and relatives of candidates as supervisors”, he said.
ASUU, however, called on the National Universities Commission NUC to take steps to investigate all fraudulent practices committed by the overzealous VCs who have compromised academic standards and subverting University ethics.
On the state of nation, Jamilu Shehu said the critical state of the economy has now been worsened by the unanticipated COVID-19 lockdown leading to another inescapable bout of recession.
According to him, unemployment has compelled quite a number of people to take to crime thereby endangering the security of the country.
“The security challenges have escalated beyond the control of state authorities. The state of security in the Northwest and Nigeria, in general, has reached alarming state over the last four months”, he said.
“The recent relocation of FUDMA University Administration from the permanent site to the take-off campus due to security threat is a pointer to the security challenges in the region”, he pointed,
He called on the Federal Government to live to its responsibility as captured in chapter 2 section 14 (b) of the 1999 constitution (as amended).
The ASUU zonal coordinator said the body as a union of intellectuals finds it unacceptable that the Presidential Task Force would discuss issues relating to prevention, control and possible cure of COVID-19 in Nigeria without reference to universities and University-based scholars, saying, Universities cannot fulfil the conditions laid down by Government for their Re-opening.
He stressed that with the hostels and lecture rooms choked up with students how do you practice social distancing? How many Universities have running water on the campuses?
“The private Universities that are clamouring for re-opening of schools what percentage of students do they have compared to public universities? These questions and many others exposed the concomitant consequences of re-opening schools without doing the needful”, he concluded.