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ASUU Strike: Time to implement the 2009 agreement

The agreement demanded a heavy financial commitment from the government and was an adaptation of an earlier agreement reached in 2001.

ASUU president, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi
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Some of the grudges the union has against the Federal government are payment of just a fraction of staff entitlement, denial of staff entitlement in respect of earned academic allowance amounting to 128 billion, funding of universities and refusal to register the Nigerian Universities Pension Management Company by the National Compensation Commission.

The union also laments about the Treasury Single Account (TSA) which affects university autonomy and decrease in budgetary allocation to education.

The 2009 Agreement and 2013 MoU

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The 2009 agreement constitute details such as the breakdown of lecturers’ salary structure, staff loans, pension, overtime, and moderation of examinations.

It also dwelt on funding of universities where both parties agreed that each federal university should get at least N1.5 trillion between 2009 and 2011 while state universities, within the same period, should receive N3.6 million per student.

The agreement also included parts that asked the renegotiation committee to ensure that at least 26 percent of Nigeria’s annual budget was allocated to education, and half of that allocation to universities.

It also requested that the 2004 Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) Act, and the National University Commission Act 2004, be amended.

Text of the suggested amendment bills – including suggestion for amendment of the Education (National Minimum Standards and Establishment of Institutions) Act 2004 – were provided in the agreements.

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ASUU signed a Memorandum of Understanding in 2013 with the officials of the Federal government to resolve the 5 months old strike which led to the closure of the universities.

The permanent secretary at the ministry of education signed on behalf of the federal government while the president of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) witnessed the event.

The MOU signing followed a disclosure by Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, Dr. Doyin Okupe that the Federal government had deposited N200 billion with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) as part of the promise made to ASUU during its last negotiation with President Goodluck Jonathan.

It is believed that the struggle to implement the 2009 FGN/ASUU Agreement is not about the union but it’s about saving the university system from total collapse.

It would also help to arrest the decaying infrastructure and human development in the educational system.

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It is quite unfortunate that the government promised to pay the balance, but up till now, nothing has been done which a clear breach is of the MoU and the universities are in a serious funding crisis.

Torinmo Salau writes from Lagos, Nigeria and blogs at torinmo.wordpress.com.

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