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    ASUU Strike: Education Minister Asks Students to Sue Lecturers

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    ·.As Union rejects FG offer

    By Abdul Lawal, Abuja

     
    Minister of Education Adamu Adamu has advised aggrieved university students to sue their lecturers in court for refusing to teach them

    According to Adamu, it is responsibility of the Academic Staff of universities to compensate students for the time wasted during the six-month old strike, not the Federal Government.
     
    Adamu said this on Thursday at the 47th Session of the State House Ministerial Briefing organised by the Presidential Communications Team at the Aso Rock Villa, Abuja.
     
    He also said the government will not concede to the union’s demand to pay lecturers their emoluments for the six months of no academic activities.
    In a related development, ASUU President, Professor Emmanuel Osodeke has explained why the union rejected Federal Government offer describing it as “Miserable”.
    According to sparklight News report ,the union asked the Ministry of Education to return to the New draft Agreement of the 2009 FGN/ASUU Renegotiation Committee whose workcovered a total of five and half years as a demonstration of good faith on the part of ASuu.
    Adamu suggested that the affected students should “take ASUU to court to claim damages incurred over the strike period.
    The Nation online reports quoted Adamu in Abuja as saying that the Federal Government bears no liability to compensate millions of students grounded for the six months over loss time.
    The Minister said if the students are determined to get compensated, they should take ASUU to court.
    The statement read “The major reason given by the Federal Government for the miserly offer, paucity of revenue, is not tenable. This is because of several reasons chief of which is poor management of the economy. This has given rise to leakages in the revenue of governments at all levels.
    “There is wasteful spending, misappropriation of funds, and outright stealing of our collective patrimony. ASUU believes that if the leakages in the management of the country’s resources are stopped, there will be more than enough to meet the nation’s revenue and expenditure targets without borrowing and plunging the country into a debt crisis as is the case now.”
    Osodeke explained further that the government imposed the ongoing strike action on ASUU, saying FG had encouraged it to linger because of its provocative indifference.
    It read, “The Munzali Jibril-led renegotiation committee submitted the first Draft Agreement in May 2021 but the government’s official response did not come until about one year later! Again, Award presented by the Nimi Briggs-led Team came across in a manner of take-it-or-leave-it on a sheet of paper. No serious country in the world treats their scholars this way.”
    It stressed that the government’s surreptitious move to set aside the principle of collective bargaining, which was globally in practice, had the potential of damaging lecturers’ psyche and destroying commitment to the university system.
    According to Union, this is, no doubt, injurious to Nigeria’s aspiration to become an active player in the global knowledge industry.
    “Rejecting a salary package arrived at through collective bargaining is a repudiation of government’s pronouncements on reversing “brain drain”. It is common knowledge that, more now than in the 1980s and 1990s, Nigerian scholars, especially in scarce areas like science and medicine, are migrating in droves to Europe, America and many parts of Africa such as South Africa, Rwanda, and Ghana with supportive environment to ply their trades as well as competitive reward systems for intellectual efforts. Does the Nigerian government care about what becomes of public universities in another five or ten years if this trend continues?”
    Also, it stated that the New Draft Agreement had other major recommendations for the funding of major components of the renegotiated 2009 FGN/ ASUU Agreement, saying “one of such recommendations is the tax on cellphone and communication lines. Ironically, the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget, and National Planning recently announced its readiness to implement ASUU’s recommendation, as a revenue
    Source, but not for education, without acknowledging the Union!”
    The statement stressed that at the commencement of the renegotiation of the 2009 FGN/ ASUU Agreement on 16th March 2017, both the Federal Government and ASUU teams agreed to be guided by the following principles as their terms of reference: “Reversal of the decay in the Nigerian University System, in order to reposition it for its responsibilities in national development; Reversal of the brain drain, not only by enhancing the remuneration of academic staff but also by disengaging them from the encumbrance of a unified civil service wage structure; Restoration of Nigerian Universities, through immediate, massive and sustained financial intervention; and Ensuring genuine university autonomy and academic freedom.”
    The Minister of Education had earlier addressed the state house press that students should take ASUU to court for time wasting and that the federal Government will not pay for work not done.
    According a member of ASUU who preferred anonymity said we may not be in class teaching but we are doing research and innovation.
     
     
     
     

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