Human rights activist, Femi Falana (SAN) has said the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) is not asking the government to pay for the job not done.
Falana disclosed this on Friday while speaking on the ongoing industrial action embarked on by the ASUU on Channels TV’s Sunrise Daily.
The federal government had been in disagreement with the striking union, leading to the industrial court ordering the lecturers to return to the classrooms. But ASUU President, Professor Victor Osodeke, said the body would appeal the judgment.
While justifying why the lecturers should be paid their money, he said all work abandoned since the last seven months of the industrial action would be attended to when universities eventually open.
“The government said we can’t pay ASUU for being on strike…if the strike is called off today, unlike other sectors of the economy, ASUU will ensure that the syllabus for the year is covered.
“In other words, no student will miss a lecture because they are going to have crash programmes, no holidays, no weekends, lectures will be taken. So, they are going to work. They are not saying ‘pay us for services we are not going to render’,” he said.
Falana posited that the strike would be over immediately if the government wants it to end.
He said, “I am sad that we are going through these avoidable strikes where students cannot predict when they are going to complete their courses.
“I have been involved in the negotiation between the government and ASUU since 1992 and the attitude of the government is not to address the problems that led to the strike.
“Instead of addressing the problem, successive governments go around trying to destabilise ASUU.
“[The main issues are] the revitalisation of the university system through adequate funding, improvement of the condition of service of lecturers so that our universities can compete. The government agreed in 2019 and an agreement was signed.
“All the government says is we have no money, but the same administration, this year alone, increased fuel subsidy from 443 billion Naira to 4 trillion Naira and we are now being told that before the end of the year, that figure may metamorphose into 6.5 trillion. So where are you getting such money to fund waste and fraud but when it comes to education you say you have no money, I think these are some of the issues.”
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