FG Moves to End ASUU Strike, Promises to Release N20bn

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Kuni Tyessi

In order to encourage the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), to call off its nationwide strike, the federal government has promised to release N20 billion to the Union and to encourage it to return to the negotiation table.

The development follows the indefinite strike embarked upon by the union late Sunday night, after its National Executive Council NEC meeting held in Akure, Ondo State.

Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu; at a briefing in his office yesterday, attributed the delay in meeting some of the demands projected by ASUU on weak financial base of the federal government, noting that previous administrations made bogus promises to the academic unions when the economy was quite buoyant.

ASUU’s current strike is predicated on delays in implementing the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) all parties allegedly agreed to in the year 2017, including to compel government to conclude the renegotiation of other agreements also collectively reached in 2009.

National President of ASUU, Prof Biodun Ogunyemi while announcing the commencement of the strike had re-echoed the insincerity of government in meeting their demands.

Ogunyemi had said, “Having waited patiently for action and meaningful negotiation with reasonable men using the principle of collective bargaining that ASUU at its NEC meeting of 3rd and 4th November 2018 at the Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA) resolved to resume the nationwide strike action it suspended in September 2017 with immediate effect.

“This strike will be total comprehensive and indefinite. Our members shall withdraw their services until government fully implement all outstanding issues as contained in the MOA of 2017, and concludes the renegotiation of the 2009 agreements.

“We have today been subjected to 20 years of continued re-colonisation under alleged democracy in which all that the ruling circle have been regrouping among themselves in their various faction they called political parties.”

The ASUU President had also buttressed the necessity of the strike when he said the release of a paltry N20 billion revitalisation fund was despite the fact that the same government released N1.3 trillion to a distressed bank recently.

Ogunyemi also argued that the government was not interested in public universities as the children of the top politicians and rich men in the society patronise private universities at the detriment of public institutions.

But the minister said he highly regretted the action of ASUU as he equally shares in their pain.

He said: “I must say that this is difficult to reconcile with all the efforts and positive achievements we have been able to make.

“ Let me begin by saying that the issues necessitating this strike dates back to 2009 when the then government of late President Umaru Musa Yar Adua signed an agreement with the ASUU on funding of the federal universities in the country.

“The agreement provided for funding of Universities to the tune of N1.3trillion over a period of six years. It is instructive to know that Nigeria was experiencing the oil boom at that time. It was therefore expected that government will be able to meet the terms of agreement.

“However, international oil prices crashed in subsequent years thereby throwing the country into economic hardship, at the inception of this administration the country’s economic fortunes worsened, nose diving into recession, with dire consequences on all sectors of the economy, including education.”