The Minister of State for Education, Goodluck Nanah Opiah has slammed the Academic Staff Union University, (ASUU) over the lingering impasse between the union and the Federal Government.
Opiah while expressing dismay at the 201 days old strike embarked upon by ASUU, said the Federal Government has done its best to resolve the issues raised by ASUU but the union has been adamant to call off the strike.
The minister who spoke when he visited the Federal University Lokoja, (FUL), Kogi State on Friday said, ‘the no work no pay policy’ stands.
He said the federal government cannot pay lecturers for what they did not work for, adding that, the strike has continued to portray a bad image for the country and has succeeded in causing pain for parents and students.
He claimed the federal government has done much on infrastructural development in all higher institutions across the country, charging the Vice-Chancellor of FUL, Prof. Olayemi Akinwumi to appeal to lecturers to come back to work.
He added that the prolonged stay at home has done more harm than good to the future of Nigerian students.
His words “The federal government led by President Muhammadu Buhari has done so much, especially, in infrastructural development in our tertiary institution, because anywhere you go, you will see the presence of TETFUND, buildings, vehicles and all manners of institutional assets.
“Those who think that lack of infrastructure is one of the reasons they went on strike should think again. Mr Vice Chancellor, let me use this opportunity to appeal to you, to also appeal to our lecturers to come back to work because our children are suffering.
“Our country’s image is going lower. Our parents are not happy, and these lecturers are also parents of some of our students. Contrary to what they think, some of us also have our children in Nigerian Universities and they are also suffering.
“Although, if we stay on strike forever, it means our children will be out of school forever. It is not in our own interest. There is nothing that has gone wrong that we cannot get corrected through dialogue. I know that almost everything that ASUU brought forth for discussion between the federal government has been resolved.
“Except that, now that ASUU wants to be paid for all the six months that they were absent from duty. And the Federal Government is saying no we cannot pay for those days you did not work. For once, let us activate the principle of no work no pay which is natural. It is only a thief that goes to eat where he didn’t work.
“And so if there should be any appeal for Federal Government to do otherwise, Lecturers should come back to the classroom to beg and appeal and renegotiate because this thing is no longer funny”
He, however, assured the University that the Federal Government will speedily ensure the provision of perimeter fencing in view of the security challenges bedevilling the nation today.
Earlier in his remarks, the Vice Chancellor of Federal University Lokoja, Prof. Olayemi Akinwumi while appreciating the visit of the minister said the present management has sacrificed a lot to bring development to the institution.