The Federal Government has asked students to take the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to take legal action for compensation over the time lost since the varsity teachers began their latest round of strike.
Education Minister Adamu Adamu said this on Thursday while fielding questions from reporters at the 47th Session of the State House Ministerial Briefing organised by the Presidential Communications Team at the Aso Rock Villa, Abuja.
“You should take the leaders of the striking unions to court to pay them,” the minister said when asked if the government plans to compensate students over lost time due to the lingering university teachers’ industrial action. “Probable the court will award damages and we will see how they would pay.”
The minister also denied being mandated by President Muhammadu Buhari to end the six-month strike.
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According to him, at no time did the Nigerian leader order him to resolve the strike in six months.
He said the President instead told him to resolve the issues within the shortest possible time, contrary to what the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, told the media.
While he insisted that he will not succumb to the union’s demand for their members to be paid the backlog of salaries withheld within the period of six months that they were on strike, he said such is the penalty for their action.
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During the meeting, Adamu equally said five of the university-based unions may call off their strike within the next one week but admitted that ASUU’s case remains uncertain.
Furthermore, he accused ASUU of not appreciating what government’s investments in the education sector, arguing that N2.5 trillion was expended on education by President Buhari’s administration through the Tertiary Education Fund (TETFUND) as well as Universal Basic Education (UBEC).
This, he added, is well over the N1.2 trillion demanded by ASUU which he claimed embarked on a needless strike.