The Federal Government disclosed that the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) is blackmailing the FG to borrow N1.2 trillion for its demands, and has urged parents to beg ASUU, by appealing to their sense of patriotism.
This was disclosed by Festus Keyamo, Minister of State for Labour and employment in an interview with Channels TV on Friday evening.
The Minister hinted that the FG has other critical sectors to spend money including health centres and infrastructure.
What the minister is saying
He disclosed that the moment ASUU embarked on the strike, the FG intervened, and called them to a meeting.
Keyamo said, “As the talks started, they continued their strike. You cannot allow one sector of the economy to hold your jugular and blackmail you to borrow N1.2 trillion when our total income is about N6.1 trillion, and you have roads to build, health centres to build, and other critical infrastructure to take care of.
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“This is the grim picture. Even NNPC is no longer remitting money to FAAC.”
When asked what message he has for parents whose children have been at home, away from their academics since the strike started, Keyamo said he would ask parents to appeal to ASUU to call off the strike.
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“I will say to them, they have heard me and seen the true picture. We are putting our cards on the table face up. ASUU’s proposal is N1.2 trillion, meanwhile, even their former N412 billion that we were paying was even 50% of the total wage structure of the FG that ASUU was taking alone before, and they are saying N1.2 trillion.
“I will tell parents and everybody to go and beg ASUU. Like the President said the other time, those who know them should appeal to their sense of patriotism,“ he added.
He said, ASUU is not the only one feeding from the federal purse, as the nation cannot grind to a halt because of their demands.
What you should know
- ASUU had on February 14, 2022, embarked on a 4-week total and comprehensive strike to press home their unresolved demands on the federal government.
- Some of the lecturers’ demands include funding for the revitalisation of public universities, payment of earned academic allowances, and adoption of the University Transparency Accountability Solution (UTAS) as a preferred payment option, instead of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) and payment of promotion arrears.
- Others are the renegotiation of the 2009 ASUU-FGN Agreement and the resolution of inconsistencies in the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS)
- ASUU on May 9, further extended its ongoing strike by another 12 weeks to give the government enough time to satisfactorily resolve all the outstanding issues after an extension on March 14 due to an alleged lack of seriousness on the part of the federal government.
- The Federal Government’s Briggs renegotiation committee, had since April 2022, been meeting with ASUU and other labour unions in the universities, who are all currently on strike due to its dispute with the government and non-resolution of demands of the 2009 agreements signed with the federal government.
- The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) had on July 26 and 27, embarked on a 2-day nationwide protest in solidarity with the ongoing strike action by ASUU aimed at pressurizing the Federal Government to conclude negotiations with striking universities unions and ensure that public universities resume for normal activities, among others.
- President Muhammadu Buhari had on July 19 directed the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, to proffer a solution to the challenge and report back to him in 2 weeks.
- The presidential ultimatum will elapse today and ASUU remains adamant until its demands are met.
- However, ASUU remained adamant in its resolve to press on with its demand as it once again on August 1 extended its ongoing strike by another 4 weeks to give the Federal Government more time to resolve outstanding issues in its dispute with it