Nigeria on Thursday said students in the tertiary institutions could take the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to court and sue them to claim compensation for the time lost since the varsity teachers began their industrial actions.
According to the country’s Education Minister Adamu Adamu, students of Nigerian universities currently on strike should make the lecturers pay for their time wasted during the strike actions.
The minister, who spoke while fielding questions from reporters at the State House Ministerial Briefing at the Aso Rock Villa, Abuja said, “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 for 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.
Adamu said at no time did the Nigerian leader order him to resolve the strike in two weeks.
He said the President instead told him to resolve the issue 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.
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 the 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) and Universal Basic Education (UBEC).
This, he added, is well over the N1.2 trillion demanded by ASUU, a union he claimed embarked on a needless strike.
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