The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has said contrary to what the government wants the public to believe, the federal government has no genuine plans to end the eight-month face-off between it and the union.
The union made the position known against the backdrop of comments credited to Minister of Labour and Employment Chris Ngige.
Ngige was reported to have said government would invite the union for further meeting after collating necessary data to ensure pending issues re bought to the negotiation table, a position ASUU described as delaying tactics.
Coordinator ASUU Lagos Zone Prof Olusiji Sowande made the union’s position known in a statement, a copy of which was obtained by our correspondent in Abuja.
He said ”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. Ngige-led government team has not been able to return to negotiating table since the last engagement with our union on November 4, 2020.”
ASUU therefore advised parents, students and the general public not to be persuaded by the minister’s statement that government cannot afford to pay the conservative N110 billion for revitalization of the public universities.
Sowande said 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.
He further said: ”Over the years, Nigerian government has spent over N1.5 trillion to bailout power generation and distribution companies to keep their business afloat despite privatization of the power sector. ”
The union also said trillions of public fund had been spent on commercial banks as bailout funds to save them from collapsing, asking ”if government could bailout private businesses for “business good” then Nigerian public universities deserved to be bailed out for “public good”.