Minister of State for Education, Mr. Emeka Nwajiuba has condemned the ongoing strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities, the Joint Action Committee of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities, and the Non-Academic Staff Union of Education and Associated Institutions.
The Minister in an interview with PUNCH stated that lecturers shouldn’t ”disrupt” people’s lives because they’ve not gotten the money they are demanding for.
The ASUP negotiation team led by the Joint Council Chairman is negotiating for the polytechnics. That negotiation is ongoing for the polytechnics sector.
I met with some academic colleagues and we assured them. The same things that ASUU is asking for is also what they are asking for. But theirs is different because they are willing to bear with the government even with the N15bn that is due to them not having been released for almost three years. They are willing to continue working. The place where we have this issue of suspension of work is with ASUU, SSANU and NASU.
We believe that every union is entitled to make requests and the government has almost agreed with them in respect of all of the demands. The government is only releasing money as it has it. On the renegotiation with ASUU and the ministry, a committee has already been constituted, and everything ASUU asked has already been met. The only departure is in the willingness of ASUU and SSANU to continue working while the same entitlements are being worked on.
The unions in the polytechnics also have the same entitlements but they are willing to continue working while they get their entitlements. There is nothing that they are doing or asking for that is wrong. The issue is not whether they are right or wrong.
What we’ve consistently asked is government and the people of Nigeria will continue to look into the matter because if you disrupt academic sessions because of one entitlement, you would eventually get the entitlement but we would have lost the time our children would have used in learning. You are being mean. There is no point in disrupting everybody’s life because you have not got your money.
The Minister also stated that there’s no need going for the strike as it won’t produce the money they are asking for.