The federal government on Monday said it did not have the financial power now to meet the demands of the Academy Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
The minister of education, Adamu Adamu, disclosed this while addressing journalist in Abuja. He said the crash in the prices of oil globally has affected the economic fortunes of Nigeria.
This, he explained, had dire consequences on all sectors of the economy, including education.
“Let me begin by saying that the issues necessitating this strike dates back to 2009 when the then government of late President Umaru Musa Yar Adua signed an agreement with the ASUU on funding of the federal universities in the country,” he said.
According to the education minister, the agreement provided for funding of universities to the tune of N1.3 trillion over a period of six years. It is instructive to know that Nigeria was experiencing the oil boom at that time. It was therefore expected that government will be able to meet the terms of agreement.
“However, international oil prices crashed in subsequent years thereby throwing the country into economic hardship. At the inception of this administration, the country’s economic fortunes worsened, nose diving into recession, with dire consequences on all sectors of the economy, including education,” he said.
Mr Adamu said the country just exited recession and is beginning to recover from the consequences of low oil prices.
“If this trend continues, definitely, the education sector will also improve, in other words, the well-being of the education sector and any other sector of the country’s economy is a function of the international oil prices. This is the stack reality for now which all of us must acknowledge and accept.”
The minister appealed to both parents, ASUU and students to exercise restraint in their response to the education sector.