By Nwafor Sunday
The Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo, has called on the Nigerian parents to appeal to the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, to end its months-long strike.
Keyamo made the statement on ‘Politics Today’ a programme on Channels Television, on Friday.
ASUU has been on strike since February this year, demanding the withdrawal of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel information system, IPPIS, and adoption of the University, Transparency and Accountability Solution, UTAS. They equally seek the University Peculiar Payroll and Payment System, U3PS or UPPPS for the non-academic unions, among others.
Nigerian parents whose children have been at home for about 170 days, have appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to end the strike.
Since then, the federal government and ASUU have failed to reconcile, therefore leaving the Nigerian youths to wander about.
Seeing this as a critical problem, Keyamo was invited to speak on the reason, students are not back to school.
He said: “The moment ASUU went on strike we intervened. What is the manner again beyond that? The moment they declared the strike even when the strike began, we called them to a meeting.
“What manner is more than that? It’s not that we left them, to go on strike first and we were sleeping. And three months later we said okay can we start talking.
“The moment they declared, we immediately called them and said let us start talking. And as the talk started they still went on strike.
“You cannot allow one sector of the economy to hold you by the jugular and then blackmail you to go and borrow N1.2 trillion for overheads when our total income would be about N6.1 trillion. And you have roads to build, health centres to build, other sectors to take care of.
What would you tell parents whose children are with them at home for about 170 days?
“Go and beg ASUU. “Like the President said the other time, those who know them, appeal to their sense of patriotism.
“Do you want me to knell down as a parent also? I can knell down on air and beg them. It has come to that point, let them go back to classes. They are not the only one in Nigeria. They are not the only ones feeding from the federal purse. The nation cannot grind to a halt because we want to take care of the demands of ASUU.
“Let’s go to more critical issues while I am here”.