Dachung Musa Bagos, a representative in the House of Representatives, has proposed that the Academic Staff Union of Universities be compensated with some of the $23 million in Abacha loot that was just recovered (ASUU).
Since February 14, union members have been on strike in favour of, among other things, increased welfare and the revitalisation of public colleges. But one point of discontent for academics is the non-payment of university revitalisation funds, which total around N1.1 trillion.
While the Federal Government claims it lacks the resources to pay the academics, Bagos, who represents Jos South and Jos East, questions why the recent Abacha should not be applied to paying off ASUU.
“We have pressing needs. Like now, ASUU has been on strike, and the government is trying to settle those issues,” he said during an interview on Channels Television’s Politics Today on Wednesday.
“As a representative of the people, if I have to argue where those funds should be channelled to on the floor, I will say, ‘Why can’t you channel this fund to ASUU so that most youths are at home would go back to school?’ But some of the areas we feel that the executive is channelling those funds are not the immediate needs of Nigerians.”
The legislator further charged that the Federal Government did not involve the National Assembly in distributing stolen property.
“This is my third year in the National Assembly. We have never discussed any of the recovered loots. We sit down, and we hear that the executive recovered loots and allot the same to projects that they so desire,” Bagos explained.
He stated that it appears the Federal Government is not distributing these seized assets to the appropriate communities and that the National Assembly should ratify any agreements made before such funds are repatriated.
“We believe that when we discuss these issues at the National Assembly, we appropriate those funds according to the needs of Nigeria, it is going to go a long way; not just the executive looking at it and alloting it (the fund) to what they feel it should be,” he added. “The constitution has given us that right.”