JUST IN: ASUU Throws Buhari’s Offer To The Dirty Gutters, Makes Powerful Declaration, No Going Back!!!

By Post-Nigeria: January 12, 2019 11:18

JUST IN: ASUU Throws Buhari’s Offer To The Dirty Gutters, Makes Powerful Declaration, No Going Back!!!

The striking Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, has rejected the offers made to it early this week, by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government.

At the seventh meeting with the leadership of ASUU, on Tuesday, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, had said that the Labour dispute with the University Lecturers, was on 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 stated that President Muhammadu Buhari approved N20 billion to offset arrears of the 2009 to 2012 verified earnings by University Lecturers.

However, on Saturday morning, the President of ASUU, Biodun Ogunyemi, said that upon reviewing the offers made by the government, members of the Union across various Campuses and zones, have rejected it.

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

He added that on earned allowances, the 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 Federal Government, before ASUU ended its industrial action in September 2017, the Federal Government released a total of N22.9 billion, for earned allowances of both academic and non-academic staff, across the 22 Federal Universities.

Of the amount, academics under ASUU got N18.3 billion, while non-teaching 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 a 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 the N18.3 billion, it received then.

Mr. Ogunyemi said: “Our members have rejected tokenism, with respect to outstanding revitalisation fund of N1.1 trillion. They are insisting that government should release at least one tranche of N220 billion, spread over four quarters of 2019.

“On earned academic allowances, our members said government’s proposed amount out of the verified balance, should not be less than the total amount released last time, while evidence of mainstreaming the allowances into the 2019 budget, should be shown. Also, timeline should be attached to payment of the balance of the arrears.

“The revitalisation fund and earned academic allowances ,are the two critical areas on which our members feel strongly about. They expect necessary adjustments on the part of government, before they can reconsider their decision on the ongoing strike action.”

ASUU had embarked on what it termed total and indefinite strike, on November 4, 2018, to demand improved funding of Universities, and implementation of previous agreements entered with the government.

Some of the demands as contained in the ASUU list of grievances, include the implementation of the 2009 FGN/ASUU agreements, Memorandum of Understanding (MoU; 2012 and 2013) and Memorandum of Action (MoA, 2017), and the truncation of the renegotiation of the Union’s agreements.

The Union said that its ongoing strike is aimed at compelling the government to make funds available for the revitalisation of public Universities, based on the FGN-ASUU MoU of 2012, 2013, and the MoA of 2017, and that the operational license of the Nigerian University Employees Pension Company, NUPEMCO, should be released.

The Unions also asked for the release of the forensic audit report on Earned Academic Allowances, EAA, payments of all outstanding earned academic allowances, and the mainstreaming of same into the 2019 budget.

The Lecturers also demanded the payment of all arrears of shortfall in salaries to all Universities, that have met the verification requirements of the Presidential Initiative on Continuous Audit, PICA.

Meanwhile, one of the major issues that has been dragging the negotiations back and forth, is the revitalisation of the Universities.

As at Saturday morning, the government was yet to release the N1.1 trillion of the N1.3 trillion, it agreed to provide for the exercise.

The 2013 MoU, stipulated that public Universities need N1.3 trillion for a modest revitalisation. The fund was to be paid in tranches of N200 billion in 2013, N220 billion in 2014, N220 billion in 2015, 220 billion in 2016, N220 billion in 2017, and N220 billion in 2018.

The Goodluck Jonathan-led administration, released N200 billion in 2013, but since then, nothing more has been paid.

Earlier, after its meeting with the Federal Government, and shortly after the Labour and Employment Minister, Chris Ngige, went to town with the message of a possible return of the Lecturers to their classrooms, ASUU had indicated the possibility of its members not accepting the concessions.

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