The Nigerian government, according to the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), should have used the $23million loot recently recovered from former Head of State, late Sani Abacha, to fund the universities’ demands.
ASUU President, Emmanuel Osodeke, stated this during an interview on Channels Television on Tuesday. Since February 2022, ASUU has been on strike to protest the federal government’s failure to meet its demands. The federal government and the US had come to an agreement last Tuesday to return a fresh batch of money that the late dictator had embezzled.
The recovered wealth, known as “Abacha-5,” according to Abubakar Malami, the Minister of Justice and the Attorney-General of the Federation, has been set aside for the construction of the Second Niger Bridge, the Lagos-Ibadan expressway, and the Abuja-Kano road.
Following the news, debate over whether the federal government is making the correct choice about the loot discovered in the midst of the ongoing ASUU strike has been rife.
Osodeke offered his opinion on the situation, claiming that if the federal government valued the education industry, it would have used the wealth it had seized to fund it.
“Definitely. Let’s use a typical man as an example, you have a house and your child is sick seriously and you were paid money that you were not expecting. Where will you put the money?” the ASUU president asked.
“That child should be the first thing you will treat. Is it not? Before you will start thinking about how you are going to buy clothes. Your universities are shut for six months. You now have access to a fund you were not expecting; if you really love education, where should you put the money? In that particular place. They said they don’t have money. We need to love this country.”
Reacting to reports that ASUU had stopped negotiations with the federal government, Osodeke said, “In Nigeria, we have so many media — social media and what have you. They just release issues just to get popularity. We never said so. We are open to negotiations and invitations as a union.”
Easterner had reported that the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) had on Monday extended its industrial action which is in its sixth month.
The union had extended the ongoing strike on Monday morning after its National Executive Council meeting at its headquarters at the University of Abuja.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian government had insisted that the striking university lecturers would not be paid their withheld five months salaries.
This was disclosed in a statement released by the Federal Ministry of Education, claiming that the “No-work-no-pay” principle adopted by the government is part of the Nigerian Labour Law and rooted in one of the core principles of the employment relationship.