The Nigerian government has said that it does not have sufficient resources to meet all the demands of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) fuelling fears that the proposed strike threatened by the lecturers may go ahead.
The Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba made known on Monday, faulting the claims of the union that the Federal Government was blackmailing it.
According to Punch, the minister asserted that the government will always pay its dues, noting that they do not have to go on strike to drive home their points.
“We cannot possibly be blackmailing them; we tried to explain to them that we will fulfil the agreements when we have the resources. Agreements have been signed and they are meant to be fulfilled,” he said.
“But we do not have all the resources to meet all the demands at once. The thing is that we all are working together – ASUU and the Federal Government. The goal is to produce graduates, who will serve Nigeria, and to make sure that the academic calendar is running smoothly.
“So, the government will always pay its dues; you do not have to go on strike to drive home your points. They need to know that it is not the government versus ASUU. It is about doing what is right. Let us use the resources as they come. There are lots of sectors that need attention.
“All we are saying is that once there are resources, we will meet your needs; all you have to do is to keep the academic calendar running. So, please, where is the blackmail?”
ASUU had given the Federal Government a three-week ultimatum on November 15, 2021, to honour the agreement it signed with the union, which led to the suspension of the strike by university lecturers in December 2020.
Some of the demands are; the payment of earned allowances, payment of revitalisation funds to universities, creation of visitation panels and implementation of the University Transparency Accountability Solution instead of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System for the payment of workers in the ivory towers, among others.