The Federal Government said that it will be unable to meet the demands of the Academic Staff Union of Universities for now. The Federal Government, therefore, appealed to the lecturers, who have embarked on strike, to exercise restraint in their demands. The position of the Federal Government was stated on Monday night by the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, at a press conference in Abuja. Adamu said ASUU’s problems with the government began during the Umaru Yar’Adua administration in 2009.
He said the Federal Government would have fulfilled its obligations to ASUU if international oil prices had not crashed after 2009. He said previous administrations made promises to the union when the economy was buoyant, adding that the Federal Government provided an agreement in 2009 for funding of universities to the tune of N1.3 trillion over a period of six years.
Adamu said: “The issues necessitating this strike date back to 2009 when the then government of the late President Umaru Yar’Adua signed an agreement with ASUU on the funding of federal universities.
“The agreement provided for funding of universities to the tune of N1.3 trillion over a period of six years.
“It is instructive to know that Nigeria was experiencing oil boom at that time. “It was therefore expected that government would meet the terms of agreement. “However, international oil prices crashed in subsequent years, thereby throwing the country into an economic hardship.
“At the inception of this administration, the country’s economic fortunes worsened, nose-diving into a recession, with dire consequences on all sectors of the economy, including education. “We exited recession not too long ago and we are just beginning to recover from the consequences of low oil prices, which are happily beginning to pick up.
“If this trend continues, definitely the education sector will also improve. “Against this background, I want to appeal to all parents, students and in particular ASUU women and men to continue to exercise restraint in terms of their response to the plight of the education sector. “We must also be mindful that there are other sectors with similar competing needs.” Members of ASUU on Monday began what has been termed total and indefinite strike action.
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