Universities and higher institutions across the country are in the fourth month of what is turning out to be of yet another long term strike.
This is the fourth of its kind in the last three years.
There was a prior warning strike. Cumulatively, almost two years of studies have been lost.
Within this period, we have seen some top government officials posting graduation photos of their children in foreign universities.
Even a Nigerian University vice chancellor did alike.
As a society, we are toying with the future of a whole generation and by extension our whole future.
The policy makers at the top seem to forget that when education is destroyed, healthcare is also destroyed, and doctors are taught new procedures and skills at the universities, not at Aso Rock Clinic or the National Assembly.
It’s worth pointing out that eventually, everyone gets sick and everyone eventually suffers the consequences of this dearth of educational infrastructure.
The purposeful, among the students, are making themselves useful by engaging in economic activities. Others are taking certification courses and acquiring new competences.
But, if the doctors and lawyers are picking up additional skills in unrelated fields just to make money, what is the future for our professionals?
What of STEM students? Do we need our scientists to become influencers simply because of greed and obstinacy of a myopic leadership?
The crux of the issue appears to be the disgruntlement of lecturers and other academic staff with the current system of payment.
The Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS), currently in use, has been decisively proven to be a porous, easily compromised payment platform.
ASUU members allege a complete lack of transparency in the salary payment process resulting in missing funds and incomplete payments.
Instead they advocate for its replacement with the locally developed UTAS which they say had proven to be effective.
According to the Bauchi ASUU spokesperson, professor Abubakar: “There is a deep-rooted penchant for corruption within the Nigerian government ethos is all out to frustrate its (UTAS) deployment, even though it has been proven to be a flawless payment platform.”
Meanwhile, the federal government through the Minister for Labor Chris Ngige says it has no plans to introduce a different salary payment platform for the trade unions in tertiary institutions, insisting it won’t pay salaries through the recommended University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS).