Author Topic: Strike: Why FG Can’t Meet ASUU’s Demand – Ngige  (Read 172 times)

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Strike: Why FG Can’t Meet ASUU’s Demand – Ngige
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, says the government cannot meet the request of Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) due to present economic situation in the country.
ASUU is demanding N110bn for revatilisation of tertiary institutions amongst other requests.
Ngige, who stated this on Wednesday night while briefing journalists immediately after a closed-door meeting with ASUU members in Abuja, reiterated that government had offered only N20bn it can afford.
According to him, Nigeria’s dare economic situation occasioned by COVID-19 pandemic would not allow government to do beyond its financial capacity despite its commitment to revitalisation of universities.
“This government is not against revitalisation but this government says that because of dare economic situation, because of COVID-19, we cannot really pay in the N110 billion which they are demanding for revitalisation,” the minister said.
Ngige explained that the government had offered a total sum of N50bn to the striking lecturers, where N30bn out of the money is meant for Earned Academic Allowances (EAA) of all the unions – ASUU, SSANU and NASU.
He said ASUU members insisted that all the N30bn be meant for them alone.
Ngige stated, “There are three issues, revitalisation fund where government offered ASUU N20 billion as a sign of good faith based on the MoU they entered into in 2013 as a result of the renegotiation they had with government in 2009.
“This present government is still committed to it.
“While we are giving them offers of some fund, we offered N20 billion as revitalization fund.
“On Earned Academic Allowances (EAA), the government offered N30 billion to all the unions in the universities, making it N50 billion all together.
“ASUU is saying that the N30 billion should be for lecturers alone, irrespective of the fact that there are three other unions.
“So, there is a little problem there. We don’t have any money to offer apart from this N30 billion.”
Speaking on IPPIS, the minister noted that National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) is working on integrity test of University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) presented by the lecturers.
“Again, the cardinal issue is the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) versus IPPIS.
“Today, ASUU submitted their document on UTAS for onward submission to National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA).
“As you know last week, the Minister of Communication and Digital Economy had approved that NITDA gets their system [UTAS] and subject it to integrity test.
“This test should be conducted without fear or favour and as early as possible.
“So today they have submitted the document for onward transmission to NITDA.
“One other issue that has arisen is the issue of the transition period.
“How do you get the Earned Academic Allowances that is due to you any other entitlement that government want to pay you? They want an exemption from IPPIS.
“And the government’s side headed by the Accountant-General of the Federation said that IPPIS is the only government approved payment platform. So that is where we are for now.
“So, we are all going back to our principals and they will receive via me the irreducible minimum of what federal government has to offer.
“The government’s side will meet on Friday and after that they will communicate ASUU and in communicating them, if there is a need for a meeting, a date will be fixed for it,” he said.
When journalists approached ASUU President, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi for comment, the feasibly angry university teacher declined the request.
‘Outstanding salaries’
After seven months of nationwide industrial action by the ASUU, it earlier on Wednesday announced readiness of its members to resume work, if the federal government pays their outstanding salaries.
The Ibadan zonal coordinator of the union, Professor Ade Adejumo, who disclosed this at a press conference held at the conference room, faculty of art, University of Ibadan, said despite the ongoing negotiation with the federal government, government had refused to pay their salaries and allowances.
At the press conference are representatives of schools under the Ibadan zone: Moyosore Ajao (Unilorin), Professor Ayo Akinwole (UI), Dr. Femi Abanikanda (Uniosun), Dr. Biodun Olaniran (LAUTECH), and Dr. Dauda Adesola (KWASU).
‘We are tired’
Adejumo, who was represented at the conference by Prof. Moyo Ajao, the Chairperson, ASUU, University of Ilorin Chapter, said the union was forced to go on strike in March 2020 when the COVID-19 lockdown began.
He said this was done to give the government enough room to address lingering issues.
“It was a patriotic act aimed at resolving the issues so that our students would be in school any time the lockdown was lifted.
“Some people have been wondering why ASUU is on strike again.
“The simple answer is that ASUU is on strike because of the survival of the University system where many of us still have our children as students.
“ASUU is on strike in order to restore the past glory of public universities and address infrastructural decay and deficit in our institutions.
“ASUU is on strike for the legitimate dues of its members who are the least paid in the tertiary education sub-sector,” he said.
According to him, ASUU is actually tired of having a circus show of talks but in the interest of the students and the Nigerians at large, it still continue to hold meetings upon meetings.


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