Strike: ‘ASUU Has A Case’ – Ex-Education Minister Nwajiuba Apologises To Students
The former Minister of State For Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, has apologised to Nigerian students and parents concerning the ongoing ASUU strike.
Nwajiuba said the federal government is currently working on a funding structure for public varsities in the country as a way to tackle the issue of inconsistent or non-payment of funds to the schools.
The ex-minister said this while speaking during an interview with Channels TV on Sunday.
Nwajiuba, who recently resigned from his ministerial position due to his presidential ambition, said that all his children attended public universities and that two of them are also affected by the strike.
“I do apologize 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 APC Presidential aspirant added that he and the Education Minister, Adamu Adamu, are discussing with the president ways in which Federal Universities can begin to earn money for themselves.
“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,” he said.
Nwajiuba noted that he believes ASUU has a solid case, however, he does not think that the strike is the best course of action.
“My position has not been that ASUU is talking rubbish. ASUU has a case, they are not making a case for themselves alone. ASUU is making a case for the entire university system.
“The only point of departure is that we have asked ASUU that strikes can’t cure the problem.
“We need them in class, we need our children back in school. It hurts parents. It hurts us. Like I keep saying, my children are here, I don’t have children in private universities. My wife and they are battling it at home,” he said.
He appealed to ASUU to consider ending the strike and working with the FG to ensure their needs and demands are met.
“This government has done more than any other government to meet ASUU. We are going to resolve the issue. All the matrixes for it to be resolved are already before Mr. President,” he said.
THE WHISTLER reported last week that Nwajiuba resigned his position after President Buhari directed all members of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) who are seeking elective positions in 2023 to resign their appointments.
The ASUU had extended its strike by another three months on Monday, May 9th, 2022, following the end of its last extension. The roll-over strike was effective from 12:01 am on May 8, 2022.
The Union has been on strike to intensify its demands which include the renegotiation of its 2009 agreement with the government and the deployment of the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) to replace the Federal Government’s Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System (IPPIS).
Some other demands include payment of earned academic allowances, funds for the revitalization of public universities, promotion arrears, and poor funding of state universities.
ASUU has also insisted on the release of the reports of the government’s visitation panels to federal universities and regular payment of salary to lecturers.