The issues involved in the ongoing strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and other three university-based unions are more complicated than they seem, the Federal Government has said.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, stated this while briefing correspondents at the end of the virtual Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Wednesday.
The minister’s remark came on a day the Council also approved the establishment of e-learning centres for primary schools across the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
The university lecturers have been on strike since February 14, 2022, over unresolved issues with the Federal Government.
Also on strike over other disputes are the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU), Non-Academic Union of Universities and Associated Institutions (NASU) and the National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT).
Fielding questions on why the government approved the establishment of e-learning centres but was unable to resolve problems with unions in the public universities, Mohammed said that the government is worried over the long closure of the institutions and making frantic efforts to ensure that all the contentious issues are resolved.
Mohammed who briefed the media on behalf of the Minister of Education said, “The other question has to do with the ASUU strike. I think if I remember this e-learning, I think it has to do more with primary schools and not universities, and I don’t think because we’re having challenges with the university lectures, we should stop primary school students in continuing with their education.
“I wish that the ASUU issue is as simple as many of us think it is. I don’t think it’s that simple. But I want to assure you that a lot is going on behind the scenes.
“I think probably the Minister of Education will be better positioned to give the details. But like any government, if we’re not concerned, we would not set up all the committees which have been working. If we are not concerned, we will not be looking for means to even assuage the feelings of the union.
“We’re worried and concerned and we’ll continue to work towards finding an early resolution of the problem.”
On the approval by FEC, the minister said, “The Minister of Education has sought approval from council for the award of contracts for the provision of a satellite-based education system for 109 e-learning centres across the 36 states of the Federation and the FCT.