*You can’t dictate to us how your pay is paid, it tells ASUU, says Emeka Nwajiuba *… claims state universities have no business joining ASSU strike over concerns claimed to have prompted strike
ABUJA, Nigeria (Joseph Erunke)
The federal government has stated that it is still unaware of the grounds for the Academic Staff Union of Universities’ (ASUU) continued strike.
This was because it was said that colleges founded and supported by state governments had no right to join federal universities on strike if the action was over issues that the union alleged.
Speaking in Abuja, Minister of State for Education, Emeka Nwajiuba, also reminded the union that it lacked basic rights to tell the government how members’ salaries should be paid by the government, which he said was their employer.
He said that the federal government has limited resources and that it cannot borrow money to pay ASUU, claiming that the government can only borrow money to construct infrastructure such as railways and other essential infrastructure, from which it will receive a return.
“Neither you nor I can explain why they (ASUU) have chosen to go on strike,” he told reporters in response to inquiries about the federal government’s and ASUU’s standoff.
“In the school system,we have about 2.6 million Nigerian undergraduates in the nearly 200 universities across Nigeria. The federal government owns less than 50 of these universities. State governments own nearly 50 of them as well whereas private people,private organisations,faith based organisations own over 100 of them.
“The only part where children are not in school at the moment are the ones that belong to the federal government. So there is no need for any other university to be at home,”he said.
Nwajiuba explained that,”The engagement with Academic Staff Union of Universities,ASUU,has been a long drawn one,based on the 2009 agreement that was signed before we came into government.
” It is our duty as government to give life to those agreement which ASUU rightly seeks to make sure that the universities that the federal government owns are properly funded.
“The federal government’s funding is very limited and because of the additional challenges of security,it had to repeatedly borrow money to finance projects. This same borrowing is not available to build social infrastructure, it’s only available to build infrastructure that government can get return from,like railways.
“To borrow and pay people is normally not what World Bank or other financial institutions borrow money for.
However,the federal government has continued to address this by paying the salaries that are due.”
He said the university lecturers cannot continue to dictate to the government how their salaries be paid.
Hear him:”Government is the one who pays, therefore, it is impractical and incongruous that somebody who is paid a salary continues to dictate for someone who pays him.”