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Tuesday, November 29, 2022

JUST IN: Federal government alone cannot fund education, Buhari says as ASUU strike lingers

President Muhammadu Buhari has asked stakeholders in the education sector to do more to attract other sources of funding because government alone cannot bear the burden of funding due to dwindling resources.

The president made this statement on Tuesday, October 4, 2022, while speaking at the fourth national summit on diminishing corruption in the public sector.

The event was jointly organised by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (OSGF) and the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) had as its theme ‘Corruption and the education sector’.

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Buhari tasked the stakeholders and the academic unions to demand accountability and interrogate the bloated expenditures of their institutions.

He, however, assured that Federal Government would continue to fund the sector within available resources.

Buhari also noted that corruption in the way tertiary institutions spend their internally generated revenues has not gone without due focus and attention by stakeholders, including the unions.

He also charged, especially the unions, to work with the government in the effort to end payroll fraud, by paying attention to and querying the authenticity of the payrolls in their various institutions.

The statement is coming amid lingering strike of Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).

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The ongoing ASUU strike began on February 14, 2022, and has grounded academic activities in public varsities for over seven months.

The union is demanding the release of revitalisation funds for universities, renegotiation of the 2009 FGN/ASUU agreement, release of earned allowances for university lecturers, and deployment of the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS).

The government had claimed to have addressed most of the union’s demands including the release of N50b for the payment of earned allowances for academic and non-academic and non-academic staff of universities but said the that the union will not be paid the arrears of the strike period.

ASUU has also insisted on not calling off the lingering strike until the arrears are settled.

Following the insistance of ASUU not to resume, the federal government, through the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige dragged the striking university lecturers before the National Industrial Court (NIC).

The court has, however, ruled in favour of the federal government and restrained ASUU from continuing with the industrial action pending the determination of the suit.

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