The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has said it is ready to negotiate with government to end its one-week old industrial action.
President of ASUU, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, who was guest on TVC News Breakfast show yesterday, also advised government to establish an education bank for proper funding of universities.
He regretted the attitude of government to the university lecturers’ demands, saying that letters notifying government of the strike, which were submitted to the education and labour ministries on November 5, had not been replied.
“We wrote to inform the ministries that we had resumed our strike. We told them that we had resumed the strike we suspended in Sept. 2017 because government failed to implement agreements we signed.
“The ministries signed to acknowledge receipt of the copies we gave them, but none has written a reply to us,” he said.
He accused the political class of strangling primary and secondary education in Nigeria, saying that 24 states had failed to access the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) funds for 2018.
According to him, the ugly situation has left UBEC with more than N60 billion that states have yet to access.
Ogunyemi observed that the federal government, which had consistently allocated seven per cent to education in the last two years, was not sincere in the claim that it was declaring a state of emergency in the education sector.
“The federal government suddenly woke up from slumber and announced a state of emergency in the education sector. It also promised to allocate 15 per cent of its budget to the sector. We find this unbelievable and deceitful.
“We feel that the `sudden’ promise has more to do with the fact that we are in an election year,” he added.
He alleged that the ruling class in Nigeria had no concern for the education of the poor.
The lecturers had resolved to remain at home until their demands, which include proper funding of the universities, are met.
Other demands included the payment of full salaries by state-owned universities, payment of earned academic allowances, among others.