Maku stated this while responding to questions from State House correspondents after the weekly Federal Executive Council meeting in Abuja.
The minister, however, noted that the Federal Government had been expending a lot on the development of tertiary education across the country.
Maku appealed to the striking ASUU members to have a rethink on their demands by taking into consideration the fact that there were many competing demands on the government from other sectors.
He said the continued violence in the northern part of the country occasioned by the activities of Islamic insurgents had affected the resources of the country.
He said the Federal Government had expended much resources to restore normalcy, saying the situation has affected what could have gone to the education sector.
Maku said, “If we say every particular problem we face in this country we will not work until it is resolved, then I am sure there is no sector that will work.
“If we all insist that every sector’s problem must be completely solved, we will down-tool; we will not work, and the country will stop working.
“We are partners with ASUU. We are friends. They are our patriots and we understand the critical role that the universities teachers are playing to create a new society that we are hoping to have.
“At the same time, this is a reality question that we need to look at and we have to put the nation first.
“I know all of us desire more from the system but the truth is that there are limitations and from the limitations we have, we believe that ASUU really needs to do a rethink and ensure that we re-open our universities.
“We are really feeling the pains that of our children at home are passing through and this indeed is obviously avoidable.”
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