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Wednesday, August 31, 2016

ASUU threatened to embark on a nationwide strike.


The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has
threatened to embark on a nationwide strike to press home
its demands for the implementation of its 2009 agreement
with the Federal Government. The ASUU Lagos Zone
Coordinator, Prof. Olusoji Sowande, said this at a news
conference on Tuesday in Lagos.
Sowande said that the union was planning to toe this part
after several efforts to ensure that the government address
the pending demands, proved abortive. He said that the
2009 FG/ASUU agreement, Memorandum of Understanding
(MOU) on funding of state universities, breaches of the
conditions of service and re -negotiation of the agreement,
were still pending.
The coordinator also mentioned other demands like the
exclusion of Nigerian universities from Pension
Management Company and non-release of NEEDS
Assessment Intervention Fund. He said that funding of state
universities, earned academic allowance and renegotiation
of the agreement were parts of the outstanding issues.
Sowande recalled that the union had embarked on strike in
2012 and 2013 as part of the efforts to make the
government implement the agreement, adding that the
issues remained unresolved. He said that the 2009
agreement provided for a periodic review after every three
years which had not been done.
``The review of the agreement should have been undertaken
in 2012 and 2015 but that did not happen. ``The implication
is that our union has shown enough patriotism and
understanding on these matters in the last four years. ``We
are perplexed and disappointed that both the Federal and
State Governments are not responding to our consistent
appeals to bring about genuine transformation in the
education sector, ‘’ he said.
According to him, embarking on strike has never been a
favourable choice as the Students and ASUU members have
always suffered the pains more. ``It is unfortunate that the
only language government appears to respect and listens to
is that of industrial action like strike,’’ he said.
The don said that the National officers of the union had met
with the Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu on
May 10 and tabled ten-point demand. He said that the
minister had promised that the issues would be resolved
within two weeks but nothing had been done till now.
Sowande said that based on MOU signed in November
2013, ``Nigerian universities requires N1.3 trillion to
revitalise the system’’, adding that the government was
already in arrears of N605 billion as at the third quarter of
2016. He said that the government had refused to release
N128 billion and N250 billion respectively for the earned
academic allowance of three years after the MoU was
signed.
``In order to forestall this avoidable crisis, we appeal to all
genuinely progressive individuals and groups to prevail on
both the Federal and State Governments to commence
release of funds for the listed purposes. ``This is to arrest
the brewing and potentially combustible situation in the
Nigerian university system before it degenerated into a
serious conflagration,’’ he said.
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