The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) yesterday said the federal government had the resources to pay N40billion university revitalisation fund but was unwilling to do so.
ASUU said this and other agreements, which the government has failed to honour, are compelling it to call out its members for another nationwide strike.
The union accused the federal government of failing to implement the December 22, 2020 Memorandum of Action (MoA) which the parties signed prior to the suspension of the last strike.
In an interaction yesterday with newsmen in Benin, Edo State, ASUU zonal coordinator, Prof. Fred I. Esumeh, who spoke on the theme, “Another Inevitable Round of Crisis in Nigerian Universities,” said for the records, that strike was declared on the 23rd March, 2020, over the federal government’s failure to honour the terms of the 7th February, 2019, MoA in which the federal government had freely agreed to conclude the details of the renegotiation of the FGN-ASUU 2009 agreement.
Esumeh, who did not disclose when the strike would commence, said the lecturers were awaiting the national body to give the directive for strike.
Esumeh added that the specific issues remain the federal government’s deliberate delay in deploying the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) as the payment platform for university staff, and the non-payment of the due tranche of Earned Academic Allowances (EAA),
Others are the non-release of the earlier agreed N40 billion fund for the revitalisation of public universities, the unwillingness to sign the draft of the renegotiated 2009 agreement, the continued non-payment of promotion arrears, the non-payment of withheld salaries and the non-remittance of deducted check-off dues of the union.
The Zonal ASUU coordinator maintained that, on the 2nd of August, 2021, ASUU and the federal government met over the issues listed above, with the executive secretary, National Universities Commission (NUC), the permanent secretary, Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation (OAGF) and other relevant bodies all in attendance where the government’s team assured ASUU that all the outstanding issues would have been fully addressed by the 31st of August, 2021.
He lamented that up until this moment, the federal government is yet to implement any of the agreements with ASUU.
While reacting to the concern that the nation is just trying to pick up from the woods after the COVID-19 lockdown, #ENDSARS protest and ASUU strike, and that it should not contemplate strike, he said the federal government had all it took to pay the N40 billion revitalisation fund and meet ASUU’s needs, when the billions allegedly siphoned in the country is considered, adding that it just doesn’t want to pay up.
He also blamed the state governments for devaluing the university system in Nigeria.
Source: Leadership Newspaper
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