The Federal Government on Monday revealed that it does not have the financial muscle at the moment to meet the demands of Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
This was made known by the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu while addressing newsmen in Abuja.
He alleged that the government of late Umaru Musa Yar’Adua only made the bogus promise to the Union because it was a period of oil boom.
Adamu noted that other critical sectors were also in competition with the educational sector and the union should take cognizance of that while tabling their demands.
“Let me begin by saying that the issues necessitating this strike date back to 2009 when the then government of late President Umaru Musa Yar Adua signed an agreement with the ASUU on funding of the federal universities in the country.
“The agreement provided for funding of universities to the tune of N1.3 trillion over a period of six years. It is instructive to know that Nigeria was experiencing the oil boom at that time. It was therefore expected that government will be able to meet the terms of agreement.
“However, international oil prices crashed in subsequent years thereby throwing the country into economic hardship. At the inception of this administration, the country’s economic fortunes worsened, nose-diving into recession, with dire consequences on all sectors of the economy, including education
“The country just exited recession and is beginning to recover from the consequences of low oil prices.
“If this trend continues, definitely, the education sector will also improve, in other words, the well-being of the education sector and any other sector of the country’s economy is a function of the international oil prices. This is the stack reality for now which all of us must acknowledge and accept.”
The minister appealed to ASUU to be mindful of the fact that other sectors of the economy were competing with similar financial needs.
“We must also be mindful that there are other sectors with similar competing needs, if our universities produce graduates, such graduates must work in other sectors of the economy which must also be supported by the government,” he added.