The Academic Staff Union of Universities has stated the reasons behind its position that academic activities should not resume now contrary to the directive of the Federal Government.
The Federal Government had through the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 fixed resumption of schools for January 18, 2021.
This comes after a 10 months strike by the ASUU, which was called off on December 24, 2020.
But the President of ASUU, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, said the time was not ripe for universities to reopen following the spike in number of COVID-19 cases in the country.
Ogunyemi, who spoke on a Channels Television programme: Sunrise Daily, on Tuesday, expressed fears about the death of many university workers as a result of COVID-19 complications.
He said a situation where “lecturers are dying like chicken” calls for concern.
He said: “We have the right to be worried as it affects the welfare of our members.
“The welfare of our members should be paramount in the operation, which is what is missing here.
“Let people not misunderstand us.
“We also face the same challenge.
“Two of my children are at home and many of my colleagues also have their children at home.
“Our concern is rooted in the safety of our members.
“What happens to congested hostels and crowded classrooms?
“What flexible arrangements are in place?
“It is a situation of emergency.
“I’m not sure the Universities can cope.”
On e-learning, Ogunyemi said said it was unfortunate that about 60 per cent of students do not have smartphones, demanding that infrastructures should be provided to support the learning management system.
He said: “We are aware that some universities are putting measures in place with alternative learning models.
“Some are even trying blended classes, virtual and physical.
“But these efforts are limited.
“They get to a point they can’t go further.
“ASUU has been talking about revitalisation since 2012.
“These are some of the areas where the assistance would have helped.
“Universities need huge funds to do this.
“People are saying start virtual classes, but more than 60 per cent of our students will run into trouble.
“They can’t afford data or smartphones.”