Prof. Abiodun Onilude of the University of Ibadan has urged President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government to as a matter of urgency declare a state of emergency in the country’s education sector.
Mr Onilude made the call in Ibadan on Thursday while delivering an inaugural lecture at the university entitled: “Addicted to Challenge: Man, Microbes and the Quest for Energy.’’
“Government should provide enough money for universities to perform their basic responsibilities of teaching, research and community service,” the don said.
He said that in the alternative the Federal Government or its agencies should hands-off the administration of universities and leave them to enjoy the full autonomy as enshrined in the ASUU-FGN Agreement of 2001.
“Universities cannot recruit the needed academic personnel unless they go through the Department of Higher Education in Abuja and where recruitment is even carried out, such personnel are not paid for over a year,” Mr Onilude said.
Speaking on the topic of the inaugural lecture, he said that there was the need to provide funds and enabling environment for enzyme production, distribution and sales to Nigerian industries.
The professor of Microbiology advised government to come up with concise policy on development and improvement of biotechnological research with a specified annual allocation to the sector.
“Like China, a mass scholarship policy targeting those countries that are biotechnologically developed should be instituted.
“The Federal Government should legislate against the importation and use of the different energy drinks dotting our cities.
“This will not only save our foreign exchange, but will also save the emotional and hormonal development of our youths who are being carried away by the supplies and the subsequent advertisement on radio and television of these products,” the don said.
He further urged the government to legislate against the indiscriminate use of plastics and plastic-derived products and encourage Nigerians to use more of paper-derived carrying materials in homes, schools and the industries.
Mr Onilude also implored the government at all levels to serve as a catalyst for job creation by providing necessary infrastructure and providing conducive atmosphere and environment for the development of entrepreneurs.
“Government should as a matter of urgency constitute a scientific forum of experts in Industrial Microbiology, Chemistry, Wood Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Electrical and Electronics to study and come up with advisory paper on the conversion for maximum utilisation of the different paper mills at Jebba, Oku-Iboku and Iwopin to Biopulping mills,’’ he said.