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Prof. Chinedu Nebo, a former minister of power, has expressed regret over the Academic Staff Union of Universities’ (ASUU) ongoing strike and claimed that the Federal Government’s insensitivity to their demands is killing tertiary education piece by piece.

Nebo said yesterday during a radio interview with Energy FM in Enugu, which The Guardian was listening to, that it is regretful that the present university lecturers’ strike has persisted and has the potential to worsen the industry’s problems.

He stated, however, that strikes had not solved any problems before and would not solve the current issues in the tertiary institutions.

The former Vice Chancellor of the University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN) said: “The universities are dying. There are no facilities; no research facilities; the laboratories are dead and decaying.

Nigeria is producing half-baked graduates who cannot compete with their peers in other parts of the world, especially in the high-tech areas like engineering. It is a horrible situation and, unfortunately, the government doesn’t care and ASUU, too, doesn’t realise that there are better ways of doing these things.

When I was Vice Chancellor, even the National University Commission (NUC) and Ministry of Education got involved. They asked vice chancellors to identify the way forward, which government is not doing now. They see it as a labour thing and that is why we cannot solve the problem.

“It is wrong for government not to listen to the needs of these lecturers. It is not only their salaries they are fighting for; they are fighting for other things. But a situation where a senator of this country is earning more than the president of the United States of America and a university lecturer doesn’t earn as much as $1,000 a month is so pathetic.

“It is so condemnable. The facilities are not there, no incentives for anybody to be there, and that is why private universities are growing and, probably, going to take over Nigeria’s tertiary education. I had foreseen this many years ago and I have been saying it.

Very soon our federal universities would become glorified secondary schools because of the way they are being treated.

“This is because government has become insensitive to the challenges of the sector.”

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