The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has accused the Federal Government of failing to prioritise the development of university education in the country.
ASUU President, Professor Emmanuel Osodeke, made the assertion on Wednesday during an interview on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily.
He decried the situation where the government is focusing its attention on fuel subsidy which he believes does not exist, rather than showing interest in revamping the nation’s universities.
More than two months since lecturers downed tools, the ASUU president alleged that the government has been insensitive to the union’s demands.
“A government that cannot raise N200 billion to revamp all Nigerian universities and bring them to world standard, doesn’t have money to do that but that same government can raise N4 trillion for fuel subsidy; fuel subsidy and university education, which is more important to any country that wants to move forward?” he queried during the breakfast show.
“You can raise N4 trillion for fuel subsidy in a year, but you cannot raise N200 billion to fund your education because you don’t have money; it is a priority. You can spend N228 billion to feed children in primary and secondary schools, but you cannot raise N200 billion to fund your universities; it is an issue of priority, that is the problem.”
Osodeke said the government has refused to make any definite move to address the demands of the lecturers since the strike which crippled activities across public universities began in February.
According to him, nothing really has happened, and the government has not shown any sign that it is willing to resolve the issues.
The ASUU president listed some of the issues in contention to include renegotiations of the 2009 agreement, payment system for members, and revitalisation of the nation’s universities, among others.
He stressed that no concrete resolution was reached despite the series of meetings with the government delegation led by the Minister of Labour and Employment.
“Really, nothing significant has happened since we declared the strike about nine weeks ago, which means that this system (government) is really not interested in anything about education,” Osodeke stated.
“If all universities are shut down for about nine weeks and there is no single comment from the government’s side, it shows that something is really wrong.”