The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) on Wednesday said the federal government is not showing any commitment or interest in addressing its demands and has no headway has been made in its negotiations with the union.
Emmanuel Osodeke, president of the union disclosed this when he featured on a Twitter space hosted by Premium Times. He noted that the meeting it had with the federal government on Tuesday in Abuja was not productive and hence, the strike will continue.
“They are not showing any interest and they are not showing any commitment. They are saying that they have done their best and that there is no fund. We met with government yesterday and they came with nothing, they came with a document from salaries and wages commission which does not represent anything .
“We haven’t gotten anything from the government. We have been on strike for six months and the response we are getting form government is just something written by one or two people in the salaries income and wages commission which is so sad, when our people have been at home. What they have brought is just nothing,” the president said.
“If we take education serious this would not have lasted since February, but we did nothing and we are still there. It is very sad that Nigerian universities are closed and the government is not showing commitment, all they are doing is how to win the next election,” he cried.
The president while noting that government has decried paucity of funds, insisted that government has enough money to settle the demands of ASUU, and can address all demands in 48 hours if it wants to r.
Ododeke, stressed that until all ASUU’s demands are met, universities will remain shut. He pleaded with students to be patient with the union, saying that lecturers including himself are also paying sacrifices to improve education system in the country.
“While we were on strike, government released N400 billion for trader moni, and N200 billion to feed school children. What we need to solve this problem is not up to that N400 billion that we are giving to trader moni . Your universities are shut for six months, instead of putting attention there, you are giving to trader moni. You are spending N4 trillion on fuel subsidy and you cannot put N300 to N400 billion in universities to revamp it so that our children can have good education. Only one man was able to siphone N109 billion, and you say there’s no money?” the president queried.
Osodeke, stressed that the Nigerian education system, particularly university education will remain poor and cannot be able to attract the best brains if government does not increase budgetary allocation to the sector.
According to him, “No country in the world gives 5.39 percent of its budget to education and expect to have something good.” He also disclosed that Ghana is giving 16 to 20 percent of its budget to education, adding that Nigerian lectures and professors have moved to Ghana for better opportunities, but no one is coming to Nigeria.
The president raised concerns that the education sector is experiencing brain drain largely due to poor welfare lecturers receives. According to him, a professor in Nigeria is earning N460,000 and a presidential assistant is earning N1 million per month.
The president urged Nigerian students to arm their selves with their voters cards and vote out those who have kept them at home.