Some stakeholders have slammed the Federal Government’s claim that it lacks the financial resources to meet the demands of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, or ASUU.
Remember how the Minister of Labour, Chris Ngige, said that the government lacked the financial means to meet some of ASUU’s demands?
On February 14, ASUU began a one-month warning strike.
The union stated that the decision was made owing to the Federal Government’s failure to fulfill their agreement, which covers topics such as salary, the university revitalization fund, and the use of the University Transparency Accountability Solution (UTAS) payroll software.
However, the minister emphasized that the N1.3 trillion revitalization fund was a commitment given to ASUU by former President Goodluck Jonathan when the country’s finances were stable.
Dr. Edor J. Edor, the UNICAL branch’s ASUU chairman, called Ngige’s remark “a lie from the bottom of hell.”
Edor told 360 MEDIA that the ASUU strike would continue until the government complied with the union’s demands.
“When it comes to education, the Federal Government is recognized for insincerity and unresponsiveness,” Edor says. For a government official to state in good conscience that the Federal Government had no money to address education concerns as required by our union is a categorical lie and a lie from the pit of hell.
“It’s a lie and even the government official knows that it’s a lie. Elections are coming up, whatever INEC would demand to conduct such elections, the Federal Government would have the money, and that is because it concerns them, and it’s because that is the medium and platform they would use to go back to their various offices to feast on the resources of this country.
“But when it comes to education, they begin to dilly-dally, to trump up sentiments and tell Nigerians lies that the Federal Government has no money to attend to the demands of ASUU.
“It’s a lie from the pit of hell, but we too will wait for them until they have the money to attend to our demands. We will wait until they get the money to revitalize public institutions, improve our salaries, pay our EAA, pay our promotion arrears, implement the EUTA, pay our withheld salaries, then we will go back to the classroom.
“For as long as they latch unto that falsehood that there is no money, then for so long shall we remain on strike.”
Similarly, a lecturer with UNICAL accused the Federal Government of being pretentious over the issues of ASUU.
The lecturer, who wished to be anonymous because he has no authority to speak over the issue, said the Federal Government has no value for education.
Accusing the government of ignoring the education sector, the lecturer wondered why those at the helm of the country’s affairs would not borrow money to meet ASUU’s demands.
He also reiterated that the industrial action embarked upon by the body would continue until their demands were met.
He told 360 MEDIA: “Where there is a will, there is a way, so the Federal Government is living in pretense and does not value education.
“If it’s the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, they will borrow or do anything to raise money that they would reloot and share among the cabals.
“But when it comes to education, especially ASUU, there will be no money; so, in clear terms, the Federal Government is ignoring education.
“The only option is continued industrial action until everything is sorted out. In fact, the industrial action should be sustained until all the issues raised by ASUU are completely resolved so that strikes will not become recurrent or yearly; it’s all for the country’s good.
“Look at this Russia-Ukraine issue, you will see the kind of weapons they are bringing out, which is a result of research. Now imagine that we are faced with that kind of war, where do we run to? Look at the Boko Haram issue, within the time Americans refused to sell some weapons to us, and after Jonathan, how did we come up with those inventions, is it not from the education sector?
“Careful research and inventions, so we will exercise patience and wait for what the government will do. See what they voted for INEC. Is it the issue of earned academic allowance being mainstreamed? The 2021 tranche was paid in the latter part of last year by the Federal Government, so what stops them from mainstreaming into January salary to be captured in the 2022 budget? ”
However, when our correspondent reached out to ASUU National President Emmanuel Osodeke, he said ASUU NEC would meet this week to decide on what next.
“The body will meet to decide the way forward,” he said.