The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Lagos zone, on Sunday disagreed with the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, over the claim that the Federal Government cannot afford the conservative N110 billion for the revitalisation of the nation’s universities.
The Zonal Coordinator of ASUU, Prof. Olusiji Sowande, in a statement urged parents, students, and the general public not to be persuaded by the minister’s claim.
Ngige had told journalists on November 4 that the government cannot meet ASUU’s demand for revitalization of the universities because of the damaging effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy.
He said the government has offered the union N20 billion for revitalisation and N30 billion for Earned Academic Allowances respectively.
Sobande, who expressed disappointment at the government’s claim that it cannot afford the revitalisation fund, said the government recently approved N5billion bailout for operators in the aviation sector to ameliorate the harsh realities of COVID-19 on their business operations.
The government, according to him, had equally spent over N1.5 trillion to bail out power generation and distribution companies to keep their business afloat.
He said: “The statement is laced with the hidden fact that the Minister of Labour and Employment and his team have no intention of ending the ongoing strike this year.
“The Nigerian public should be appalled that the government team, after having a series of meetings with our union is just collating pertinent data required to engage our union.
“Consequently, the government has deliberately been wasting the time and resources of our union on meetings and engagements it was not prepared for.
“It is therefore not surprising that Dr. Chris Ngige led government team has not been able to return to negotiating table since the last engagement with our union on November 4, 2020.
“If the government could bail out private businesses for ‘Business Good’ then Nigerian public universities deserved to be bailed out for ‘Public Good.”
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