Chris Ngige, the Minister of Labor and Employment, says that although two of his children, American citizens, were affected by the strike started by the University Academic Staff Union (ASUU), it could enable them to enjoy “free education” in the USA.
ASUU, on Wednesday, “conditional” suspended the nine-month strike, following a decision by the National Executive Council (NEC).
On March 23, 2020, the union began an indefinite strike due to non-implementation of the agreements and resolutions reached with the federal government in 2009.
Speaking when he appeared on Channels Television on Wednesday, Ngige said he would not give ASUU a chance to go on such a prolonged strike again, given the impact on the country’s education system.
“I will not give ASUU a chance to go on strike again. I have three biological children who suffered from this imbrogli we found. “I have about 15 people on scholarships at Nigerian universities,” he said.
“My three biological children are here at Nigerian universities. They even went to high school here. Two of my children are American citizens. I have the option to let them go there and enjoy a free education and so on, but I didn’t. I’m committed. I am a parent, I am involved. ”
Although Ngige claimed he could have allowed his two children to enjoy “free education” as U.S. citizens, checks by TheCable showed that there is no university in the U.S. that is not “free”.
According to the college board, a non-profit organization conducting research at universities, the average fees for U.S. universities for the 2020/2021 academic session are as follows: $ 10,560 for four-year public states in the state; $ 27,020 for a four-year out-of-state program at a public institution; $ 3,770 for two-year district college students at public colleges, while those enrolling in a four-year program at a private nonprofit college pay $ 37,650.
However, prices vary, “depending on the institution and where it is located,” and many full-time undergraduate students “receive assistance in the form of grants to help them pay for college.”
The Labor Minister also noted that it would be unfair to conclude that the current administration has failed in the education sector, especially in funding public universities, given that the price of crude oil depreciated when it took office.
Ngige said that the previous administration, which signed a memorandum of understanding with ASUU in 2009, did so because the price of crude oil ranged from 100 to 120 dollars per barrel with a production of 2.2 million barrels per day.
“If you say that this government failed to make A or B, that would not be fair. Two reasons: Number 1; that I was part of that government at the time, we’ll know it’s not feasible, but don’t blame them either. At that time, oil was sold at a price of $ 120 per barrel to $ 130 per barrel, ”he said.
“When it wasn’t good, $ 100 a barrel with production of 2.2 to 2.5 million barrels a day, we overreacted with the OPEC quota, but as soon as this government came in 2015, you and I were here when oil prices fell to $ 27 per barrel. Even during COVID, it dropped to $ 15 a barrel. “
Asked whether the federal government would meet the conditions prescribed by ASUU to prevent another indefinite strike, Ngige said the agreement was structured for a win-win situation.
“We will not get there, because we have structured the agreement in such a way that it is a win-win situation for everyone. For example, revitalization, we gave the Government on January 31 to pay for it, “the minister explained.
“We also opened a window that we will sit down again by the end of February and review all these situations.”