- Nigeria's minister of education on behalf of the federal government pleaded with the leadership of the Academic Staff Union of Universities to end the ongoing strike action
- Emeka Nwajiuba said that while the FG understands that the demands of ASUU are genuine, it also believes that a strike is not the best approach to resolving these issues
- According to the minister, the industrial action is affecting every citizen of the country in one way or the other including his family
The minister of state for education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, on Sunday, May 15, apologised to Nigerian students over the prolonged strike action by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
Speaking on Politics Today, a Channels Television programme, Nwajiuba said the situation is unfortunate as his children are also affected by the industrial action which started on February 14.
Nwajiuba, a 2023 presidential hopeful on the platform of the ruling All Progressives Congress revealed that all his children attended public universities and that two of them are also affected by the strike.
Sharing the blam of the crisis between the federal government and ASUU which has kept students out of school for long, the minister warned that strike actions are not the appropriate approach to resolving grievances that affect Nigeria's educational system.
PAY ATTENTION: Join Legit.ng Telegram channel! Never miss important updates!
“I do apologise to Nigerian students because as their minister, I will take responsibility. But also, on behalf of the federal government, I would say ‘please understand what the issues are.
“All my four children have passed through Nigerian universities. I still have two who are at home now, because they are all in public universities."
Passing through public universities in Nigeria
Further noting that he is a product of public universities, Nwajiuba added that his position has never been that ASUU is not justified in its demand but that the only point of departure is that the FG has pleaded that strikes cannot resolve the issues on the ground.
“We need them in class, we need our children back in school. It hurts parents. It hurts us. Like I keep saying, my children are here, I don’t have children in private universities. My wife and them are battling it at home.
“This government has done more than any other government to meet ASUU. We are going to resolve the issue. All the matrixes for it to be resolved are already before Mr President."
Over 10 million Nigerian girls not in school, UNICEF warns, adopts new initiatives
Currently, there are about 18.5 million out-of-school children in Nigeria, the United Nations Children's Fund has said.
The international agency said the figure is a sharp increase compared with the number of out-of-school children in the country in 2021.
According to UNICEF, 60 per cent of the population of children - which amounts to 1,100,000 children - are girls.
ASUU strike as Old as Shehu Shagari's administration, it's endemic, presidency says
Femi Adesina, a presidential aide on media and publicity has said that the Academic Staff Union of Universities strike is not new.
Adesina recounted that the industrial action that has continued to affect Nigeria's tertiary institutions in Nigeria started long before President Buhari came into power.
According to the presidential aide, the ASUU strike is endemic and started as far back as the 1980s when Shehu Shagari was in power.