The Committee of Vice-Chancellors of Federal Universities in Nigeria, on Sunday, said it was simply impossible for their schools to run without the academic staff on the ground working.
The committee said this was because universities are primarily meant anywhere in the world to teach students and it is only the teachers who can perform such roles effectively and to get them on board is not a daydream.
The Chairman of the committee, Prof Sulyman Age Abudulkareem, who is also the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ilorin (UNILORIN), said this in an exclusive interview with Tribune Online when his reaction to the suspension of strike by both the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) and Non- Academic Staff Union (NASU) portends for university operations, was sought.
He said even though both SSANU and NASU had directed their members to resume work on Wednesday, no tangible activities would take place in the universities if the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) is still on strike and the students are at home.
He said ASUU members are so important that it is impossible to replace them if anybody is thinking in that direction.
According to him, no right-thinking government would even think along that line as university lecturers are not unskilled workers but professionals in various fields.
He asked rhetorically where would government source for their replacement and also get people that will match their levels of performance.
“It is simply unthinkable,” he stressed.
When also asked if the Federal Government was at any time during the ongoing ASUU strike directed the vice-chancellors to reopen schools, he said such directive can only be passed through the National Universities Commission (NUC), but nothing of such had come from any quarter so far.
He said even at that universities are not closed down; it is only that the lecturers are on strike and that such kind of directive for VCs to reopen schools would not solve any problem if they remain off work.
He, however, said what Nigerians should do now was to pray and be hopeful that both the Federal Government and ASUU would reach a compromise without further delay for activities to come alive again on campuses.