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University education not for all Nigerians, unreasonable for Buhari regime to borrow to pay ASUU: Umahi

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Governor David Umahi says it will be unreasonable for President Muhammadu Buhari’s regime to borrow funds to pay the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) because, according to him, university education is not for every Nigerian.

“University education is not for everybody, and that is the truth,” said the Ebonyi governor. 

Mr Umahi added, “The basic education every country strives to attain is secondary school and vocational schools. These are the basic schools, and when you have these qualifications, you will be able to use it either to start up something or to be able to use it to be employed.”

The governor stressed that it would be irrational if Mr Buhari approved the borrowing of N1.1 trillion to settle ASUU and end its protracted strike.

“There is no way the country Nigeria will go and borrow N1.1 trillion to meet ASUU’s demands. It’s quite unreasonable,” he insisted.

Mr Umahi, the South-East Governors’ Forum chair, stated this on Wednesday in Abakaliki, where he hosted a delegation from the Nigeria Police Trust Fund led by Ben Akabueze.

However, the Ebonyi governor admitted that ASUU’s demands were “genuine.” 

Mr Umahi urged the university union to “show some understanding and for those who are negotiating on the side of the government to also show some understanding.” 

“Let’s meet ourselves halfway and open the schools to save the fate of our children,” Mr Umahi said.

ASUU strike has seen public universities across the country shut down since February, forcing hundreds of thousands of students to idle at home.

The union said successive governments had failed to implement the agreements reached in 2009.

Among other things, ASUU wants President Muhammadu Buhari’s regime to adopt the Universities Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) for paying universities’ staff salaries instead of the Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System and the payment of academic earned allowance (EAA). 

A few days ago, the Nigeria Labour Congress across the country protested in solidarity with ASUU, urging the regime to meet the demands for students to return to classes.