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This strike was needless… we were forced into it, says ASUU chairman


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Government didn’t mean well for Education, says ASUU

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) says the industrial action it embarked upon on Sunday was needless, but it was forced into it by the federal government.

It said the government had shown that it does not mean well for the country’s education sector, hence the necessity of the strike action it commenced on Sunday.

Biodun Ogunyemi, President of the union, reiterated that the strike would not be called of unless its demands are met.

He said ASUU would call off the strike only “when the government is ready to do the right thing as we spelt out during our engagement with the government at the National Assembly in November last year”.

“In November last year, when we went to the National Assembly, the issues were itemised, seven, eight of them. The government was expected to have followed that pathway, to follow what I would call the action plan for resolving the matter.

“But for deviating from the action plan, the government exposed itself to the suspicion that it didn’t mean well. If it meant well, it must go back to that plan and from there, we address the issues.

“It is because it didn’t act on the understanding, that is why we are back to where we are.

“This action was needless; it is like we were forced into it. Implementation must commence and the implementation we are talking about is not the issue of renegotiation.”

Ogunyemi further explained that in 2013, the federal government had agreed to put in N1.3 trillion over a period of six years in order to revitalise Nigerian universities.

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“The first year, the government was to release N200bn, which it did, but it took a long time for us to access it. But since that release in 2013, no single kobo has been released thereafter,” he said.

“For 2014, N220bn was not released. Again 2015 and 2016, nothing was released up to the third quarter of 2017.

“In all, we can estimate the outstanding amount to be about N825bn for revitalisation of our universities.

“In the last two years, what has been allocated to education in the budget is between six and seven per cent. Even in countries where they had wars like Rwanda and Sudan, they are still allocating well above 20 per cent to education.

“Our citizens are rushing to Ghana, most universities there are public universities.”

Noting that Nigeria loses N500 million to education tourism annually within Africa, Ogunyemi  blamed the development on the ruling class whom he accused of killing the country’s education system so that their children, who were given quality education abroad, could return to dominate the poor.

A meeting between the federal government and ASUU held on Thursday but it was deadlocked.

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