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ASUU Reacts To FG’s Plan To Inject N2trn into Economy


ASUU Reacts To FG’s Plan To Inject N2trn into Economy

Punch Newspaper

The Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, on Saturday reacted to Federal Government’s plan to inject fresh N2tn into the economy, saying excluding education in the emergency funding amounts to gross insensitivity.

President Bola Tinubu had recently presented the outcomes of the Federal Government review of the accelerated stabilisation and advancement plan, which seeks to inject N2tn into the economy in the next six months.

The president, who gave the presentation while inaugurating a 31-member Presidential Economic Coordination Council at the Aso Rock Villa, Abuja on Thursday, said his administration was determined to, in the next few months, increase crude oil production to two million barrels per day and generate more electricity for Nigerians.

Addressing state house correspondents after the presentation, Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Mr. Wale Edun, said the Health, Agriculture and Energy/Power sectors would be prioritised in the emergency funding.

In the breakdown, the finance minister said N350bn would be for Health and Social Welfare, N500bn for agriculture and food security; N500bn for the energy and power sector and N650bn for general business support.

However speaking with Sunday PUNCH, ASUU National President, Prof Emmanuel Osodeke, said it was insensitive for the Federal Government to have excluded the education sector in the emergency funding given the various challenges that have plagued Nigerian universities for years.

Recall that recently, some ASUU chapters across the country protested over the government’s failure to meet some of their lingering demands which include a renegotiation of the FG/ASUU 2009 agreement, payment of four-month withheld salaries, payment of arrears of earned academic allowances, deactivation of Integrated Personal and Payroll Information System as a payment mode for members, a stop to the proliferation of universities, and government’s full funding of universities, among others.

Osodeke said not giving education parts of the emergency funding amounts to gross insensitivity to the recent outcry from the university lecturers even though the government recently met with the national body of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities, and the Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions to avert their proposed industrial action.

“Imagine you want to use N2tn to revamp the Nigerian system, yet you won’t put one kobo in education. Meanwhile, everybody in the sector from the primary level to the tertiary has been agitating against its poor condition. They (government) have been investing trillions on roads and not a kobo for the educational system. And that is why we are at this level today.

“We have said it many times that those in government are not interested in Nigerian educational system as directed by their principals: the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. Secondly, even children of the Nigerian leaders are not here. They are abroad. So whether education collapses here is not an issue for them. And that is why we have been in struggle to ensure that children of the poor have access to education. But it is obvious that those in government are not interested in that,” the ASUU president stated.

When asked whether excluding education in the fresh emergency funding shows the government is sensitive to the recent plights of ASUU, he said, “No, they are not. Even it is same for the Nigerian Labour Congress. How long has this issue of minimum wage been going on? Yet, they are telling the workers not to talk of living wage, but only minimum wage. You can imagine a leader telling his workers not to talk about the cost that can keep him and his family alive.”

Regarding on what may be the next likely action from ASUU given the recent outcries from its state chapters over the government negligence, Prof. Osodeke simply said, “You will get our plan when we meet.”

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