Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, has stated that the government has the capacity but lacks the will to meet the union’s demands.
According to him, the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government is not being sincere with lecturers and Nigerians in the negotiations to end the five-month strike.
He reminded government officials that the money being discussed does not belong to the President or politicians, but to Nigerians, and that every Nigerian child has the right to an education.
“It’s very sad. You see, if you have a will, you can get whatever you want. Thirty years ago, nobody believed a television station could run for 24 hours, nobody believed you could pick up a phone in Nigeria and call someone in the US. These were done by the academics,” he said on Channels Television on Monday evening.
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The Union is expected to have another meeting with the Federal Government today, Tuesday and Prof. Osodeke pointed out that government officials have not been taking meetings with ASUU seriously despite the President’s directives.
“On the issue of financing, if you have a will and you believe that education is important, the government will raise any amount,” he continued.
“This is the same government that has given $400b into Trader Money and that is more than what we’re asking for. This is the government that while we are on strike has released 200 billion to feed School children. I don’t know who’s being fed. I’ve not seen it. But they released 200 billion and that’s more than what we are asking for the revitalisation fund.
“[The government] is not sincere… the money is definitely there but the government isn’t willing. We only had an informal interface with the minister of education.
“There was nothing formal but what we are expecting tomorrow [today] is formal …this money we are talking about is Nigerians’ money. It’s not the President’s money. It’s not the Senators’ money and every Nigerian child has rights to education.”