The Academic Staff Union of Universities, Lagos zone, has tackled the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, over the claim that the Federal Government cannot afford the conservative N110 billion for the revitalisation of universities.
The union in a statement issued on Sunday by Lagos Zonal Coordinator, Prof. Olusiji Sowande, urged parents, students, and the general public not to be persuaded by the statement made by Ngige.
ASUU which had been on strike for seven months faulted the federal government for paying bailout funds to the private sector and failed to pay the revitalisation fund for the universities.
The union zonal coordinator was reacting to the recent comment made by Ngige on a live TV programme.
Sowande said: “The statement is laced with the hidden fact that the MoL&E and his team have no intention of ending the ongoing strike this year.
“The Nigerian public should be appalled that government’s team, after having a series of meetings with our Union, is just collating pertinent data required to engage our Union.
“Consequently, the government has deliberately been wasting the time and resources of our Union on meetings and engagements it was not prepared for.
“It is therefore not surprising that Dr. Chris Ngige-led government team has not been able to return to negotiating table since the last engagement with our Union on November 4, 2020.”
On the claim that the federal government cannot afford the revatilisation fund, the union lamented that “only recently, government-approved N5 billion bailout fund to operators in the aviation sector to ameliorate the harsh realities of COVID-19 on their business operations.”
It also raised the concern that over the years, the Nigerian government has spent over N1.5 trillion to bail out power generation and distribution companies to keep their business afloat despite privatisation of the power sector.
“If the government could bailout private businesses for ‘Business Good’ then Nigerian public Universities deserved to be bailed out for ‘Public Good’,” he added.