The Federal Government of Nigeria has Accused Asuu of being selfish for going on strike and expecting that the strike will make federal government to pay them without thinking about others.
The Minister of State for Education, Emeka Nwajiuba said this in an interview.
According to him, it is selfish for the unions to shut down the universities, saying they are not the only ones that have demands.
He said other unions including the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics and the Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union, unlike varsities unions, were considerate.
According to him, ASUP and COEASU are ready to bear with the government.
Berating ASUU, Nwajiuba stated, “The issue is not whether they are right or wrong. What we’ve consistently said is government and the people of Nigeria will continue to look into the matter because if you disrupt academic sessions because of one entitlement, you would eventually get the entitlement, but we would have lost the time our children would have used in learning. You are being mean. There is no point in disrupting everybody’s life because you have not got your money.”
He explained that the government had no money to fund the union’s requests at a go as the sale of petroleum had dropped drastically in the country.
Nwajiuba said, “The 2.2 million children we have in tertiary institutions who are in the universities and other tertiary institutions, and the nearly 100,000 lecturers, that work with them are a very important segment of our workforce. But then, they are not the only people in Nigeria. There are unionists in so many different parts. All we manage to sell after banditry attacks is just less than 1,000 barrels of oil in a day.
When the money comes in, it is that money we are going to use to pay the police, Man O’ War, and all the civil defence groups and other organisations in Nigeria. It is that same money we are going to use in paying secondary school teachers. To build infrastructure, the government just goes around begging China, begging this, begging that. But to pay salary, we have to sell this little crude oil in order to keep the lives of 200-so million lives running.”
“You can see what the Ministry of Finance is doing. It gave N50bn, N20bn. We don’t have N200bn in the coffers at a go. When the last President (Goodluck Jonathan) signed the agreement, he thought he might have the money. The government can’t be managed like that: The government will not be robbing Peter to pay Paul.”
He stated, “What we have done is to at least expand access. And while we are using the resources that are available to us to improve human capacity to be able to run because those are the two things needed; buildings are not the universities. It is content that makes the universities. So as long as we keep developing human capacity around them, we will ensure we give access to our people in millions.”
According to him, government licensed 20 universities last year; another 12 this year. “It is our belief that Nigeria is still below 250 universities for 250 million people,” he added.
He said no fewer than 1.5 million candidates write Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination every year, out of which only 600,000 are admitted.We are social! follow us on: