The Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo, has declared that the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government cannot borrow to settle the striking university lecturers.

Keyamu, who featured on Channels TV on Friday, said the members of the Academic Staff Union of University, ASUU are not the only ones in the country, stressing that other sectors also need funds.

According to the Minister, the country cannot pay ASUU N1.2 trillion at the detriment of other sectors of the economy.

He appealed to the lecturers to suspend the six months old strike and return to class as patriotic Nigerians.

He said, “You cannot allow one sector of the economy to hold you by the jugular and then blackmail you to go and borrow N1.2 trillion for overheads when our total income would be about N6.1 trillion.

“Like the President said the other time, those who know them, appeal to their sense of patriotism.

“Let them go back to classes. They are not the only ones in Nigeria. They are not the only ones feeding from the federal purse. The nation cannot grind to a halt because we want to take care of the demands of ASUU.”

ASUU had on February 14, shut down public universities in the country to protest the inability of the Federal Government to implement some agreements the two parties entered into in previous years.

The union had on Monday, announced the extension of the industrial action by another four weeks to enable the government find a solution to their demands.