Paul Obi in Abuja
The Academic Staff Union of Nigerian Universities (ASUU) wednesday served the federal government with a strike notice over the failure to fully implement the 2009 agreement signed by the government or “risks another full blown nationwide strike.”
The Zonal Coordinator (Abuja Zone) of ASUU, Dr. Theophilus Daniel Lagi, issued the threat at a press briefing in Abuja, stating that government had so far implemented only 30 per cent of the agreement on the NEEDS Assessment budget in 2013 which was disbursed indiscriminately to university councils, as a fallout of its six months industrial action.
He regretted the failure of government to address ASUU demands put forward to it and the non-implementation of the core provisions of the agreement, adding: “The present step by ASUU is a design to appeal and inform the Nigerian public on the state of neglect of lectures by government and to serve as a prelude to full blown strike.”
He said: “The struggle to implement the 2009 ASUU/FGN agreement is not about the union. It is not about the personal benefits of the members only. It is about saving the university system from total collapse.
“The current issues in contention include funding of universities for revitalisation in line with the MoU the FGN entered into with ASUU in 2013; renegotiation of the FGN/ASUU 2009 agreement which ASUU believes will reposition the entire education sector; facilitation of the registration of the Nigerian Universities Pension Management company, among others in the list.”
Also speaking, the Chairman of ASUU, University of Abuja chapter, Dr. Ben Ugheoke, frowned at “government’s lethargic attitude towards the establishment of the pension company despite the fact that the union had fulfilled its side of the bargain including the payment its counterpart funding.
“We have not joined other PFAs because of the irregularities in the operation of the scheme; the system lacks integrity. That is why we asked our members to wait for our own company.
“Initially, ASUU was told to commit N600 million to the registration; from that N600 million, it was increased to N740 million but late last year, it was raised to N1 billion and I want to say that ASUU has already paid the N1 billion; it has been with the government since 2013 and yet government is frustrating the registration of the company,” Ugheoke said.