The former Minister of State for Education Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, on Sunday, apologised to Nigerians over the ongoing strike by the Academic Union of Universities (ASUU), claiming that his children are also affected by the industrial dispute.
Nwajiuba, a presidential candidate for the All Progressives Congress (APC), issued the apology during a programme on Channels Television, Sunday Politics.
He resigned from the position on Wednesday after President Muhammadu Buhari directed all political office holders with designs on the 2023 general elections to resign from their positions latest by May 16.
ASUU extended its strike by another 12 weeks last Monday following the Federal Government’s reluctance to honour the agreement signed by both parties.
Nwajiuba said: “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.”
He said the federal government was working out a financial framework for universities as part of efforts to resolve the incessant strike by lecturers.
The ex-minister added: “I have proposed, and the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, will continue discussing this with Mr. President, a new scheme in which universities have a different way of earning money to be able to care for themselves.
“Because you see, there are only 50 of these federal universities and there are 200 others. However, these 50 alone are more than 75 percent of the number of students in the entire university structure – about 2.2m of them.
“So, it is important we give them a funding structure; we need to bring a funding structure to the table because this coming hand-in-cap to the Federal Government at all times cannot be continued and is not sustainable.”
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