President Muhammadu Buhari has urged labour unions in the country to allow his administration concentrate on fixing infrastructure, rather than distracting it.
He made the appeal yesterday while playing host to the Executive Committee of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) in the State House, Abuja.
“In three and a half years, we have improved tremendously on what we met. We are trying to do infrastructure. No matter which part of the country you come from, you will see the efforts we are making in terms of roads; we are trying to fix rails, we are trying to do power, through the use of gas and solar. If you note what we have done in these three and a half years, you will not regret voting this administration into power,” the president said.
In a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, yesterday, Buhari also stated that Nigeria was doing very well in agriculture, claiming that the country was about to attain food sufficiency and security.
He urged the students to plead with the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), promising to speak with the union “so that they don’t encroach on your efforts to qualify in time.”
President Buhari said he had explained in details while presenting the 2019 budget estimates, the earnings and expenditure and, therefore, expected the elite to understand the position of the government on certain issues.
Buhari advised the youths to prepare themselves for leadership positions in the country.
He assured labour leaders that, having been in positions of leadership at various stages in his life, and with the experience, he meant well for Nigerians and indeed, workers and should, therefore, be allowed to fix infrastructure so that more Nigerians could be taken out of the poverty cycle.
Earlier, the students, led by the president, Comrade Danielson Bamidele Akpan, sought government intervention to end the incessant strike in the education sector; involve more youths in governance; and look into the plight of students in different institutions who have been expelled for ‘political’ reasons.
Meanwhile, ASUU has said it has no concrete deal with the Federal Government yet, describing the report that N15.89 billion was released to the universities on December 31, 2018 as a rumour.
The Lagos Zonal Coordinator of ASUU, Prof. Olusiji Sowande, in a chat with The Guardian, said the latest information on ASUU remained as stated during the last press conference at the University of Lagos (UNILAG).
ASUU had at the UNILAG briefing said it would not shift ground until government meets substantial amount of its demands.
However, a new report has emerged that university students may soon return to classrooms following the Federal Government’s release of N15.89billion to the institutions last Monday for the payment of shortfall in salaries.
The money, according to the information, was expected to enter the account of all public universities in the country before the close of work last Wednesday, January 2, 2019.
But Sowande, who countered the report, stated: “We have not had any meeting with the Federal Government after our last press conference at UNILAG, and so we don’t have anything concrete with government yet.
To us, the report on release of N15.89b is a rumour until we meet with government and see details of such lodgment and payment to the universities.