Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has berated the Muhammadu Buhari-led federal government of claiming to take some action to end the strike.
ASUU has asked the Minister of State for Labour, Festus Keyamo (SAN), to list some of the actions taken by the present administration to end the ongoing industrial action.
Recall that Keyamo had accused ASUU of being unrealistic with their demands.
Speaking on Channels TV’s Politics Today on Friday, he stated that the government can’t borrow money to pay the striking members of ASUU amidst cash shortages when other sectors of the economy also need attention.
According to Keyamo, ASUU should be begged to shelf their strike so the members can return to work, students can resume studies and the nation’s public universities can be re-opened.
He had said, “Let them go back to classes. They are not the only one in Nigeria. They are not the only ones feeding from the federal purse. The nation cannot grind to a halt because we want to take care of the demands of ASUU.”
Reacting in an interview with APROKOVIBE, the National President of ASUU, Prof Emmanuel Osodeke accused the Minister of not having the interest of Nigerians at heart.
He wondered how Keyamo who was an activist fighting against policies of the government would not “turned around to fight the Nigerian people.”
Osodeke said: “When I listened to him yesterday, I felt very disappointed. We are in a country where someone who has risen in the legal profession can come out to completely misinform the public. It is so sad and I feel so pained.
“We are challenging him to mention one of the things the government has done on all the issues that led to the strike. How much has been released for the revitalisation fund for universities? How much has been released for the payment of the earned academic allowances? Has the visitation panel report been released? This is a demand that does not even have to do with money.
“Have they signed the agreement that was negotiated between their team and ASUU? On the issue of IPPIS and UTAS, have the results been made available? These are the questions Nigerians have to ask them. The demands that don’t have to do with money, have they met those demands?
“I am so disappointed. This is someone who was on the street fighting for the poor Nigerians until he joined politics. This same man has turned around to fight the Nigerian people. We challenge him to tell the Nigerian people what the government has done concerning the seven demands that were listed. It is so sad, and that is why Nigeria is where it is today.
“These people do not have the interest of Nigerians at heart. Nigeria is battling all manner of things. Insecurity, education is on lockdown. They have not released one kobo, I’m saying this with all due respect. The government has not released one kobo to any university since the strike started, but you are giving N1.14 billion worth of vehicles to government officials in the Niger Republic.
“You know why they don’t believe in Nigerians. If their children were to be in our schools, they would have done something.”
AprokoVibes reports ASUU has been on strike since February 14, 2022, and has vowed not to resume until the federal government meets their demands.
Some of their demands include improved welfare for lecturers, revitalisation fund for public universities, implementation of the 2009 agreement, and dropping the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) for the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS).