Sen. Sola Adeyeye (APC-Osun), the Vice Chairman, Senate Committee on Education, has urged the Federal Government to urgently cut the allowances of all elected and appointed officials by 50 per cent.
Adeyeye made the call on Monday in Abuja while speaking to newsmen against the backdrop of the protracted strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
The senator also urged the National Assembly to henceforth appropriate 26 per cent of national revenue to the education sector.
He said this had become necessary because “the enormous rot in the education sector cries for urgent and immediate attention”.
Adeyeye said that the demands put up by ASUU was motivated by the huge privileges and entitlements currently enjoyed by the Nigerian politicians.
He said the “meagre allocations” to the education sector had turned the Ministry of Education into “a beast of burden” which had over 46 parastatal agencies to attend to.
“The costs for running the offices of all elected and appointed political office holders should immediately be pruned by 50 per cent.
“The National Assembly should, henceforth, appropriate at least 26 percent of Nigeria’s current revenue to education alone”, he said.
Adeyeye also suggested that beginning from 2014, the national assembly should formulate a law compelling all workers in Nigeria to contribute five per cent of their income as education taxes.
He said there was the need to streamline the large number of parastatals under the Ministry of Education into a manageable few, to reduce the drain on scarce resources.
The senator, however, advised that stringent punishment should be meted out to anybody found guilty of stealing from the revenues that would be derived from the education tax.
“Embezzling any amount of these revenues targeted for education should be taken as an act of treason.
“This should attract the most severe penalty such as impeachment, imprisonment and perhaps death penalty,” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that an ASUU leader in the University of Ibadan, Dr Segun Ajiboye, had accused Adeyeye of disparaging the union when he spoke on the floor of the Senate.
Adeyeye said that some of ASUU demands were genuine, but that others bordered were ”ridiculous” because many of them (demands) were not obtainable anywhere in the world.
“It is only in Nigeria that academicians would demand for Excess Workload Allowances and payment for supervising research.
“If someone has been paid for doing or supervising research, should he again be rewarded with promotion and salary increase on the basis of a service for which he had already been rewarded?
“If the government accedes to all the demands by ASUU, then within two months, all the other workers in all level of education would demand for the same.
“But on the senate floor, I castigated successive Nigerian government for neglect of education.
“I also castigated government for entering agreements it seemed to have known it would not implement.”
The lawmaker urged the Federal Government to urgently declare an emergency in the education sector by channeling all existing intervention to education, to “end the vicious circle of strikes”. (NAN)