The Federal Government has said that it does not know why the Academic Staff Union of Universities is on strike and why state universities joined the action.
The Minister of State for Education, Emeka Nwajiuba, said this when he spoke with newsmen in Abuja on the strike.
Nwajiuba said there was more to the industrial action at this time in the life of the nation than could be fathomed.
He said: “Why they (ASUU) have chosen to go on strike is something that neither you nor I can explain.
“In the school system, we have about 2.6 million Nigerian undergraduates in the nearly 200 universities across Nigeria.
“The Federal Government owns less than 50 of these universities.
“State Governments own nearly 50 of them as well whereas private people, private organisations, faith-based organisations own over 100 of them.
“The only part where children are not in school at the moment are the ones that belong to the Federal Government.
“So there is no need for any other university to be at home.
“The engagement with Academic Staff Union of Universities has been a long drawn one based on the 2009 agreement that was signed before we came into government.
“It is our duty as government to give life to those agreement, which ASUU rightly seeks to make sure that the universities that the Federal Government own are properly funded.
“The Federal Government’s funding is very limited and because of the additional challenges of security, it had to repeatedly borrow money to finance projects.
“This same borrowing is not available to build social infrastructure, it’s only available to build infrastructure that government can get return from like railways.
“To borrow and pay people is normally not what World Bank or other financial institutions borrow money for.
“However, the Federal Government has continued to address this by paying the salaries that are due.
“Government is the one who pays.
“Therefore, it is impractical and incongruous that somebody who is paid a salary continues to dictate for someone who pays him.”