The Vice Chairman of the Senate Committee on Education, Senator Sola Adeyeye on Monday described as ‘ridiculous’ the pay demands by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) on the federal government.
This is just as he challenged lecturers to a public debate to justify the unresolved pay demands which has led to the protracted strike by university lecturers.
Adeyeye who is a Professor of Molecular Biology told newsmen at the National Assembly against the backdrop of last week’s Senate debates on the protracted ASUU strike.
On account of his contributions at plenary, Adeyeye was particularly criticised by the ASUU chairman, University of Ibadan branch, Dr. Segun Ajiboye.
“There is no question that the enormous rot in Nigeria’s education sector cries for urgent and immediate attention.
But as unpopular as saying so might make me to the membership of ASUU, the truth is that ASUU has been a part of the problem.
I would gladly love to engage Dr. Ajiboye in a prime time televised debate on my assertion,” Adeyeye stated yesterday.
The senator proposed five practical solutions to this “most national pressing crisis’: firstly, the National Assembly should henceforth appropriate at least 26 per cent of Nigeria’s current revenue to education alone.
Second, the education ministry must ensure the streamlining of the “endless parastatals that drain resources while making little or no contribution to national well-being and progress.”
Thirdly, the government in a bid to raise revenue for funding a “national redemption programme” in education, all imports should attract a mandatory education tax of one per cent.
Fourth, beginning from January 1, 2014 till December 31, 2018, all workers in Nigeria must contribute five per cent of their income as education taxes. Embezzling any amount of these revenues targeted for education should be taken as an act of treason.
Fifth, the costs for running the offices of all elected and appointed political office holders should immediately be pruned by 50 per cent.
According to Adeyeye, the “implacable” demands by ASUU are fueled by resentment at the “obscene” privileges which Nigerian politicians enjoy.