The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has expressed disappointment over the comments made by Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo, on its union’s ongoing strike.
The national president of ASUU, Prof Emmanuel Osodeke, who spoke on Monday during an interview with Channels Television, said the ongoing strike is not about the lecturers, but about the university system.
ASUU has been on strike since February 14 over government’s failure to implement their demands on salaries and allowances of lecturers,improved funding for universities, among others.
Speaking on the union’s strike, Keyamo, in an interview with Channels Television on August 5, asked parents to beg the varsity lecturers to call off their strike.
The minister added that Federal Government will not be blackmailed by ASUU to borrow N1.2 trillion in order to meet the demands of the union.
“You cannot allow one sector of the economy to hold your jugular and blackmail you to go and borrow N1.2 trillion for overheads, when our total income is about N6.1 trillion, and you have roads, health centres to build, and other sectors to take care of,” Keyamo had said.
Reacting to Keyamo’s comment, Osodeke said the strike was not over the welfare of lecturers.
“For us as a union, we are not talking about ASUU. We are talking about Nigerian university system that has virtually collapsed in such a way that you don’t see students from all over of the world coming to Nigerian universities as students.
“You don’t see lecturers from all over the world coming to Nigeria to teach, while Nigerian lecturers and students are all moving in droves out of the country. That is why we are on strike. It is not about our welfare; it is about this system.
“Are we proud of this system? Will Keyamo, who had spoken, allow his children to school in Nigerian universities? That is the comical thing I saw when he was speaking and for me, why I felt so disappointed is this is someone, before he joined this partisan politics, he was one of those on the streets,”Osodeke said.