THE Academic Staff Union of Universities has condemned the directive of the National Universities Commissions to the Committee of Vice-Chancellors of Nigerian Universities that universities should be shut to enable students to participate in the forthcoming general elections.
The NUC gave the directive in a letter on Tuesday addressed to vice-chancellors of all universities and Directors of Inter-university Centres.
He said, “It is nothing new, most public universities get closed during elections because many of them housed polling units and universities and their communities always vote on campuses.
“Two reasons why universities are shut down during elections are so as not to disenfranchise the people and to give opportunity to those who registered away from the university to be able to vote. It is something universities have been doing as far as I can remember; so this is not new.
“The directive is coming from our regulatory body, NUC; it is for universities to see how they can manage it and it is the VCs that will internalise it.”
Also speaking, the National President, Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics, Mr Anderson Ezeibe, said the polytechnics regulatory body, National Board for Technical Education, had yet to come up with any directive.
“We are waiting for our regulatory body but they have not made any pronouncement. For NUC, they cited security and they are in the best position to tell us the security information they have. But I still hold the view that the Senate of the universities are to take the decision of closure or no closure, not NUC.”
On his part, the President, National Association of Nigerian Students, Usman Barambu, said the directive by the NUC was welcome.
He said, “That directive is a product of our efforts. We met with the Minister of Education when the speculations were spreading that schools would be opened during the election period. The minister assured us that schools would not be opened and told us that directives would be issued to relevant agencies.
“It is not only universities that would be shut, polytechnic, Colleges of Education and all tertiary institutions of learning would not be opened. Very soon, you would begin to hear from them