- As Nigerian students while away time at home, ASUU says the federal government is to blame for its latest strike
- The union noted that the Buhari-led administration had eight months to address the issues raised by its members but failed to act on them
- ASUU also queried the priorities of the federal government, accusing them of not giving attention to education like other sectors
FCT, Abuja - The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has again blamed the federal government for the ongoing strike in public universities.
The union’s national president, Professor Emmanuel Osodeke, stated in an interview with The Punch newspaper.
“The initial idea was that the government would have met all the demands within the four weeks. But since the government said they could not meet up with our demands in four weeks, we said let us give them eight weeks.
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“We just don’t want to declare an indefinite strike. Let us hope that in eight weeks, they meet up so that schools can return to normal and there will be an improvement in the system.
“All they have done is to make promises as they had done in the past. For our members, if you have made promises in the past that you did not fulfill, why should we believe you again?
“If the government was serious about these problems, within four weeks the problems would have been solved.
“We say release the white paper, release the revitalisation fund for universities and sign the agreement, these things should not have taken four weeks if they were serious.
“In 2021, ASUU did not go on strike and I’m sure you are aware of that. We completed negotiations in 2021, did we go on strike? Between May 2021 and February 2022, that is eight months, for them to go and look at what we discussed; did we go on strike during this period? No, but the government went to sleep.
“For eight months, the government went to sleep and when ASUU went on strike, they came up.”
When asked for his reaction to claims by the federal government that there were no funds to meet the demands of the union, Osodeke said:
“The government said there is no money but they have money for elections. Between education and election, which one is much more important? They constructed a railway from Kaduna to Niger Republic, is that more important than education?
“They claim there is no money, but the president increased the duty tour allowance and you see them travelling from one country to another. Does that prove that there is no money?
“Who are the ones benefiting from the DTA? Aren’t they political office holders? But the one that concerns the ordinary Nigerians, they claim they don’t have money. It is not correct; it is just the issue of priority.”
We’ll occupy Abuja streets if ASUU strike continues, says NANS
Meanwhile, following the extension of the ongoing strike by ASUU, the leadership of the National Association of Nigerian Students, NANS, has threatened to return to the streets of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, and turn them into university campuses.
In an exclusive chat with Legit.ng, NANS president, Comrade Sunday Asefon vowed that Nigerian students will return to the streets again if every effort to resolve the ongoing crisis in the education sector fails.
Asefon said since the federal government and ASUU have created a new university on the street of Abuja, the students will now return back to the street once their final intervention of involving other stakeholders including former NANS leadership fails.
ASUU tackles NITDA over claims on its payment system
In a related development, ASUU has contradicted claims by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) that its payment system failed an integrity test.
The ASUU payment platform known as the University Transparency and Accountability Solution has been a subject of scrutiny in the past few weeks following a statement by the director-general of NITDA doubting its potency.
Reacting to NITDA's position, the leadership of ASUU on Sunday, March 13 issued a press release stating that the allegations made by the federal government agency were false.