Nsukka - The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) will sustain its ongoing strike until the Federal Government gets the money to meet its demands, an ex-officio member has said.
Prof Aloysius Okolie, the immediate past chairman of the union at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Nsukka, Enugu State on Friday that the government should not allow a total collapse of tertiary education in the country.
Okolie said that no country had attained enviable height economically and technologically without adequate funds for the education sector.
He said the sector remained the engine room of national development.
"The National Assembly and some executive members are paid jumbo salaries but when it comes to education funding the government has no money.
"How will the country be able to achieve its vision 20:2020 of being among the 20 leading economies if the education sector is not well-funded,’’ he asked.
The former chairman solicited the understanding of the students and their parents saying the union's demand was to ensure quality teaching and learning in the universities.
"It is unreliable that in some universities student receive lectures under the trees and in stadium.
"Books, laboratory equipment in our libraries and laboratories are outdated while some politicians and government officials are wasting money in building houses in every state capital and buying fleets of exotic cars.
"The demands will enable the universities to produce quality graduates employable in any part of the world,’’ he said.
Okolie urged the government to see reason in fulfilling the promise it entered with ASUU in 2009 to enable the students and lecturers to go back to class.
He said the union was not making a fresh demand but for the government to implement the agreement it signed with the union in 2009.
NAN recalls that the meeting between the Federal Government and ASUU in Abuja was postponed to Monday.
Gov. Gabriel Suswam of Benue, who chairs the universities needs assessment committee, told newsmen that both parties had rescheduled their negotiations for Aug. 19.
Suswam, who is the negotiator for the Federal Government, said that tremendous progress had been made in the negotiations.
"We made some progress; we had very fruitful discussion with ASUU.
"We have agreed we are to meet again on Monday at about three o’clock. When we meet again we will be able to arrive at some decisions,’’ he said.