The Ebonyi State Governor, Dave Umahi, says that it is not possible for the Federal Government to borrow N1.1 trillion to meet the demands of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) who have been on strike for almost 6 months.
Governor Umahi made his feelings known when he received a delegation from the Nigeria Police Trust Fund led by Dr. Ben Akabueze, in Abakaliki, Ebonyi.
What Governor Umahi is saying
The Governor said, “There is no way the country Nigeria will go and borrow N1.1trillion to meet ASUU’s demand, it’s quite unreasonable. Are their demands genuine? Yes. But we can start little by little.
“There must be a commitment on the side of both parties that look, this ASUU is not asking for this to take to their houses’ so to say. It’s asking for it for our children, to better the infrastructure, to better the lecturers and the students. Yes, but we can start with a fraction of that and then have a programme that will run on the platform of sincerity to address all the lots.
“But let me also say that most of the time, our people have a low appetite for maintenance of public works.
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“No matter how much you deploy to these universities unless the users and the industry regulators begin to treat public infrastructure as their own in the various universities, it will continue to go bad no matter how much the federal government deploys to it.’’
He also called on varsities lecturers to show some level of understanding so the strike can end.
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He added, “So, it is important for ASUU to show some understanding and for those who are negotiating on the side of government to also show some understanding,” he added.
“Let’s meet ourselves halfway and then open the schools to save the fate of our children.”
What you should know
- Recall that the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo, had on August 5, 2022, during an interview on a television programme, said that it was unrealistic for the Federal Government to borrow N1.2 trillion in order to end the almost 6 months strike embarked upon by ASUU.
- The 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.
- This was further extended by another 12 weeks on May 9 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.
- 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.
- 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