ASUU re­jects FG of­fer, says strike con­tin­ues

Business Day (Nigeria) - - NEWS - INIOBONG IWOK

The strik­ing Aca­demic St aff Union of Uni­ver­si­ties ( ASUU) has re­jected the of­fers made to it early this week by the Nige­rian gov­ern­ment.

At the sev­enth meet­ing with the lead­er­ship of ASUU last Tues­day, the Min­is­ter of Labour and Em­ploy­ment, Chris Ngige, said the labour dis­pute with the univer­sity teach­ers was at the verge of be­ing re­solved. He listed the fresh con­ces­sions made by the ad­min­is­tra­tion to ASUU.

Ac­cord­ing to Ngige, the of­fice of the Ac­coun­tant-Gen­eral of the Fed­er­a­tion and the Min­istry of Fi­nance pre­sented ev­i­dence that N15.4 bil­lion had been re­leased to pub­lic uni­ver­si­ties.

On earned aca­demic al­lowances, he said Pres­i­dent Muham­madu Buhari ap­proved N20 bil­lion to off­set ar­rears of the 2009 to 2012 ver­i­fied earn­ings by univer­sity teach­ers.

Pres­i­dent of ASUU, Bio­dun Ogun­yemi, in an in­ter­view with jour­nal­ists Satur­day morn­ing, how­ever, said that after re­view­ing the of­fers made by the gov­ern­ment, mem­bers of the union across var­i­ous cam­puses and zones re­jected it.

Ogun­yemi, de­scribed gov­ern­ment’s of­fer on the out­stand­ing re­vi­tal­i­sa­tion fund of N1.1 tril­lion as to­kenism, say­ing mem­bers are in­sist­ing that gov­ern­ment should re­lease at least a tranche of N220 bil­lion spread over four quar­ters of 2019.

He added that on earned al­lowances, gov­ern­ment’s pro­posal should not be lesser than the to­tal amount re­leased “the last time” out of the ver­i­fied bal­ance.

Re­call that as part of the agree­ment reached be­tween the union and the gov­ern­ment be­fore ASUU ended its in­dus­trial ac­tion in Septem­ber 2017, the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment re­leased a to­tal sum of N22.9 bil­lion for earned al­lowances of both aca­demic and nona­ca­demic staff across 22 Fed­eral uni­ver­si­ties.

Of the amount, aca­demics un­der ASUU got N18.3bil­lion, while non­teach­ing staff be­long­ing to the Se­nior Staff As­so­ci­a­tion of Nige­rian Univer­sity ( SSANU), Non-Aca­demic Staff Union (NASU) and the Na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion of Aca­demic Tech­nol­o­gists ( NAAT) got N4.6 bil­lion.

The shar­ing for­mula, which was con­demned by the three non-aca­demic staff unions, had led to pock­ets of protests across var­i­ous cam­puses at the time, and even­tu­ally com­pelled the unions to em­bark on pro­longed strike.

Ap­par­ently to avoid the con­tro­versy that greeted the shar­ing of the al­lowance in 2017, ASUU is in­sist­ing that the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment should cat­e­gor­i­cally state the amount ear­marked for its mem­bers, which it said must not be lesser than N18.3 bil­lion it re­ceived then.

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