The leadership of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, has declared that strike continues, saying there is no going back on their decision.
According to the union, they accused the Ministry of Labour and Employment, chaired by Chris Ngige as “Conciliator” for prolonged strike, adding they would not be subjected to blackmail.
The National President of the union, Professor Emmanuel Osodeke, while briefing reporters in Abuja, the nation’s capital, on Tuesday.
“ASUU, therefore, makes bold to say that the Minister of Labour and Employment has taken upon himself the role of unabashed protagonist in our ongoing dispute with the government of Nigeria for some inexplicable reasons.
“Dr. Ngige earlier told whoever cared to listen that he was not the employer of university academics and advised the union to march to the Ministry of Education.
Nigerians may wish to know why he has suddenly turned around to constitute himself into an impediment to an amicable resolution of the ongoing crisis,” he said.
Speaking on the funding of Universities, ASUU president said, “Comrades and compatriots, it has become the pastime of government officials to talk tough about billions and trillions of naira whenever the thorny issues of education and health sectors’ funding come up for mention.
“However, it is common knowledge that various sums of money in the same region which could have been deployed for human capacity development and public good usually develop into the thin air at the end of the day!.
“We are therefore not surprised the leadership of the Ministry of Labour and Employment could condescend to the point of denigrating the import of massive injection of fund into the University Education sub-sector as they tried to miserably dismiss the vexed issue of funding Nigerian public universities and uplifting the country’s intellectual capital. While government and its agents, would like to look at the issue in the ‘’here and now’’ and funding as a one-off matter, we prefer to look at it longitudinally.
“ASUU believes that the idea of availability of funds is a dynamic process. For instance, government can mobilize funds from different sources including non-budgetary outlets like stamp-duty, GSM and alcoholic taxes. These were parts of our recommendations at the National Workshop organised by the Federal government on sustainable funding of education in Nigeria, held between 27th and 28th November, 2018, at the Banquet Hall of the State House in Abuja.
“At the workshop, MDAs were also challenged to remit, for the purpose of raising budgetary profile, excesses that accrue and not accounted for. We insist that, until and unless these sources of ‘loose funds’ are pooled and appropriated in support of education funding, Nigerian Universities will not be positioned to compete globally as well as develop and attract local and foreign grants.”