The Federal Government has formally took over the ownership of King David University of Medical Sciences, Uburu, Ebonyi state.
This is in pursuant to a presidential promise by President Buhari in May 2022.
In a ceremony held in the conference room of the Federal Ministry of Health, Abuja, on Tuesday, September 6, 2022, a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to that effect was signed.
Speaking at the ceremony, the Governor of Ebonyi State said the idea of the university was borne out of the desire to save the life of the people, serve them well and stem medical tourism.
“Apart from the huge revenue we would save from our people traveling abroad, we would be bringing world-class medical services home. That way, we are saving the lives of our people and earning foreign exchange from the foreigners coming for treatment” he said.
Governor Umahi further explained that the beautiful university environment was beyond what a state could manage prompting the president, who commissioned it in May, to pronounce the takeover by the federal government.
Corroborating the statements of the governor, the Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, said the Federal Government had to take over the university because of its strategic importance to the overall healthcare plans of the federal government.
“The institution is very ready and well equipped with state-of-the-art facilities. We have confirmed the standards and we are very excited to be taking it over. I will soon be there to physically take it over,” Minister Ehanire said.
The ceremony was witnessed by the Minister of State for Health, Barr. Joe Ekumankama, the permanent secretary of the ministry, and several directors of the ministry.
On the side of Ebonyi state were some commissioners and top state government officials.
With the university now a federal-owned institution will likely be joining other federal government universities that have been on strike for about seven months due to the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) strike.
Recall, that since February 14, 2022, there have been no academic activities in public universities in the country due to the ongoing ASUU strike.
The union is demanding the release of revitalisation funds for universities, renegotiation of the 2009 FGN/ASUU agreement, release of earned allowances for university lecturers, and deployment of the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS).
Meanwhile, the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu said Federal Government had addressed most of the union’s demands including the release of N50b for the payment of earned allowances for academic and non-academic and non-academic staff of universities but said the that the union will not be paid the arrears of the strike period.
The union has also insisted on not calling off the lingering strike until the arrears are settled.
In the latest development, the FG coming from a special meeting with Pro-Chancellors and Vice Chancellors of public universities has agreed to increase professors’ salaries by 35%.
The government also said that other lecturers will enjoy a 23.5 percent increment.
However, there hasn’t been any indication that this will moved the striking lecturers’ return to class for academic activities.