Ebonyi State Governor David Umahi has said despite the genuineness of the five-month industrial action embarked on by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), it is unreasonable for the federal government to borrow N1.1 trillion to meet the lecturers’ demands.
Governor Umahi made the declaration at the New Government House in Abakaliki when he received a delegation of the board of trustees of the Nigeria Police Trust Fund led by Dr Ben Akabueze. Umahi said there must be commitment on the side of both parties to end the lingering industrial action. “There is no way Nigeria will go and borrow N1.1 trillion to meet ASUU demands. It’s quite unreasonable. Are their demands genuine? Yes, but we can start little by little.
“So, it is important for ASUU to show some understanding and for those who are negotiating on the side of the government to also show some understanding. Let’s meet ourselves halfway and open our schools for the future of the students. ASUU are not asking this to take to their houses so to say. I have read in social media, newspapers how the students got into trouble by sitting at home or engaging in means of keeping themselves busy instead of being in school”.
“ASUU demand is for our children to better their future. To better the lecturers and the students. Yes, but we can start with a fraction of that demand and then have a programme that will run on the platform of sincerity to address all the issues,” he stated.
Umahi said Nigerians have low appetite for maintenance of public works. He maintained that no matter how much is deployed to the universities, unless the industry and the regulations begin to treat public infrastructure as their own, it will continue to go bad no matter how much the federal government deploys it.
Governor Umahi also called for the review of the country’s education system. He said there must be a way for both the government and union leaders iron the problem out amicably.
(leadership.ng Except headlines)