Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo, says that the President Muhammadu Buhari regime has no resources to stop the ongoing industrial action by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
Mr Keyamo, speaking on a Channels Television program on Friday, said his advice to parents of stranded university students is to plead with ASUU to return to the classrooms.
“I will tell parents and everybody; go and beg ASUU,” he said.
The minister said ASUU’s demand for its rightly earned wages amounted to blackmail and that schools will not be opened at the expense of other economic sectors.
”You cannot allow one sector of the economy to hold your jugular and then blackmail you to go and borrow 1.2 trillion for over heads when our total income will be around N6.1 Trillion and you have roads to build, health center to build, other sector to take care of, critical infrastructure to take care of,” Mr Keyamo asserted.
“They have heard me. We are putting our cards on the table face-up. The proposal ASUU is talking about is N1.2 Trillion, meanwhile even the former N412 billion that was being paid before was 50 per cent of the total wage structure of the Federal Government,” he stressed.
ASUU has constantly maintained that it had reached an agreement with a panel set up by the Buhari regime and all that was required was for the parties to sign and resolve the issues. The federal government has however failed to sign the agreement it negotiated, ASUU claimed.
As the Buhari regime continue to claim unavailability of resources to address lecturers’ demands, it has continued to commit resources, many times extrabudgetary, to causes of no priority concern to Nigerians.
In April, Mr Buhari donated $1 million to the Taliban government of Afghanistan in “humanitarian” aids. In June, he was also exposed to have spent N1.14 billion of state funds in procuring exotic vehicles for the government of Niger Republic.