By Bashir Bello
The Academic Staff Union of Union of Universities, ASUU on Tuesday warned the Federal government against re-opening universities to avoid spike in the number of cases of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.
This was as it told the federal government not to succumb to pressures from private universities whom it said were ‘out of business and eager to open shops’.
The Acting Zonal Coordinator, ASUU Kano Zone, Prof. Abdulkadir Muhammad made this known while addressing a press conference in the state on Tuesday.
Mohammad however vowed that it would resist any attempt by the Federal Government’s plan to reopen universities until all the necessary conditions that would quarantee the safety of its members and students were put place.
According to him, “Let me make it very categorically clear that the union is not averse to opening of public universities, but before doing that government must provide all the necessary conditions that will make it safe and conducive for our members and students to avoid a spike in the cases of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The nation’s universities lacked the necessary equipment and facilities to cope with COVID-19 protocols for schools resumption as outlined by the NCDC.
“The outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic in the country had exposed the infrastructural deficit not only in the universities but other sectors of education in the country.
“This is as a result of continuous refusal of Government to heed to ASUU calls for proper funding of our universities to make them globally competitive since 2019.
“it was also a known fact that with almost lack of or erratic internet supply and the high cost of data which make it expensive for students, the much talked about virtual teaching in the country is far from a reality.
“With lack of steady water supply and electricity, overcrowded class, poorly spaced hostel rooms, libraries, laboratories and staff offices, which of our universities will satisfy the requirements for social distancing.
“The experience of other countries with even better facilities that have opened and later closed due to spike in COVID-19 cases should guide our thoughts or next line of action.
“We, therefore, urged the federal government not to succumb to pressures from private universities who were ‘out of business and eager to open shops’,” Mohammad however said.