ABUJA — THE Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, yesterday rejected the Federal Government’s new offer of enhanced academic allowances, insisting that government should first implement in full the 2009 agreement before any other negotiation could take place.
National President of ASUU, Dr. Nasir Fagge, who disclosed this to Vanguard, said after consultations with branch chairmen of the union on the new government offer, members rejected it, saying accepting the offer meant starting negotiations afresh.
Dr. Fagge said: “They wanted to make an offer on one of the issues in dispute. They said they are more interested in the earned academic allowances, so they said they want to make an offer just like they did in the first instance.
“We told them that the issue is not making offers on any item in the agreement. The issue is implementing the agreement. We have consulted our principal (branch chairmen) and our principal is of the opinion that the agreement should just be implemented.
“If we say we are going to start talking about offers and rejections and acceptance, it means that we are going back to re-negotiation.
“That is the situation and of course, they asked whether we will still attend tomorrow’s meeting where they will discuss implementation of the needs assessment report, we told them that we will be there.”
The ASUU boss, who said it seemed the Federal Government wanted to reduce the whole agreement to earned academic allowances, said “for us, the agreement has many other things that are very vital for revitalizing university system in this country.”
He said the branch chairmen who were contacted on the development rejected any move that would end up in government abandoning an agreement that was willingly signed and that the union did not want a development where a component of the agreement would be singled out by government.
“They said (branch leaders) that are not interested in re-negotiating the agreement for now, when you implement the agreement then we will talk about re-negotiation,” he said.
…asks NUC to account for N100bn varsities’ stabilization fund
AWKA—THE Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, yesterday, urged the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, to prevail on the executive secretary of the National Universities Commission, NUC, Professor Julius Okogie to account for the N100 billion annual stabilization fund provided by the Federal Government for improvement of facilities in government-owned universities.
Chairman of Nsukka Zone of ASUU, Dr. Chidi Osuagwu, at a briefing on the on-going strike embarked upon by university lecturers in the country at the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, accused the NUC boss of being a cog in the wheel of university education and development in Nigeria, adding that the strike would not have become necessary if the annual stabilization fund was properly managed.
He said: “We have not seen anything done with the stabilization fund. If the NUC has been spending the money as expected, there would not have been this strike in the first place as the issues demanded by ASUU would have been taken care of.
“The EFCC and other agencies of government should investigate this matter in the interest of the growth of education in the country. ASUU embarked on the current strike as a result of the failure of the Federal Government to implement the agreement it willingly entered into with ASUU in October, 2009.
“Between 2009 and 2011, ASUU had made efforts in getting the government to implement the agreement by even embarking on warning strikes, but government on its side paid deaf ears to these efforts.
“It is important to inform the public that the strike by ASUU is not meant to make any fresh demands on government, but simply and squarely to ask government to rise to the challenges of responsible governance by fulfilling the provisions of an agreement which it freely signed four years ago.”
According to him, ASUU feels embarrassed by the rumours making the rounds that the on-going strike will be called off tomorrow.
He insisted that the strike would continue unless the 2009 ASUU-FGN agreement was fully implemented.
Osuagwu argued that Nigeria had adequate resources to properly fund education, describing as regrettable a situation where the country spent 25 percent of its budget on members of the National Assembly, but could not meet the 26 percent requirement for the funding of education as prescribed by the United Nations Educational and Scientific Organisation, UNESCO.