The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has continued its industrial action, and the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, has denied receiving a directive from President Muhammadu Buhari ordering a two-weekend to the protracted strike.
Contrary to what the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, informed the media, the minister stated to State House Correspondents during the weekly Ministerial Briefing on Thursday in Abuja that the President instead instructed him to tackle the issues as quickly as possible.
He emphasised that he would not give in to ASUU’s demand that its members receive the salary backlog that had been withheld during the six-month strike, stressing that this is the price they must pay for their action.
The minister also revealed that, while ASUU’s strike is still in the air, five other university-based unions will probably end theirs within the next week.
Adamu argued that lecturers had maintained their position to go on an unnecessary strike despite the N2.5 trillion spent on education by President Buhari’s administration through the Tertiary Education Fund (TETFUND) and Universal Basic Education (UBEC), surpassing the N1.2 trillion demanded by ASUU.
He did point out that ASUU has started discussions with its members about whether to end their strike as well.
The minister also disputed data from UNICEF and the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs that an estimated 10.5 million children are out of school. He claims the number has dropped to 6.9 million after 2020.
This is in accordance with what he said, and the administration has also seen outstanding enrollment over the past year, particularly in states on the front lines, including Kano, Kaduna, Sokoto, Gombe, Bauchi, Adamawa, Taraba, Rivers, and Ebonyi states.