The Federal Government has requested that students file a lawsuit against the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to recover missed time due to the latest wave of varsity teachers’ strikes.
When answering questions from reporters during the 47th State House Ministerial Briefing, which was held at the Aso Rock Villa in Abuja on Thursday, August 18, Education Minister Adamu Adamu made this statement.
Adamu said when asked if the government plans to compensate students for lost time due to the lingering university teachers’ industrial action;
You should take the leaders of the striking unions to court to pay them. Probable the court will award damages and we will see how they would pay.
The minister also denied being mandated by President Muhammadu Buhari to end the six-month strike.
According to him, at no time did the Nigerian leader order him to resolve the strike in two weeks.
He said the President instead told him to resolve the issue within the shortest possible time, contrary to what the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, told the media.
While he insisted that he will not succumb to the union’s demand for their members to be paid the backlog of salaries withheld within the period of six months that they were on strike, he said such is the penalty for their action.
During the meeting, Adamu equally said five of the university-based unions may call off their strike within the next one week but admitted that ASUU’s case remains uncertain.
Furthermore, he accused ASUU of not appreciating the government’s investments in the education sector, arguing that N2.5 trillion was expended on education by President Buhari’s administration through the Tertiary Education Fund (TETFUND) and Universal Basic Education (UBEC).
This, he added, is well over the N1.2 trillion demanded by ASUU, a union he claimed embarked on a needless strike.
The Academic Staff Union of Universities on Thursday said it “had no words” for the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu.
Speaking with the PUNCH, ASUU National President, Prof. Osodeke simply said;
We have no words for him.
ASUU embarked on strike on Monday, February 14, 2022, following what the union tagged as the failure of the government to meet some of the lingering demands of the union.
The union is seeking the release of revitalisation funds for universities, deployment of the University Transparency Accountability System for the payment of university lecturers; release of earned allowances among others.