Following the meeting between the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and Federal Government on Monday, January 7, 2019, ASUU president, Prof Biodun Ogunyemi has explained why the strike has not been suspended.
Ogunyemi while speaking in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria, said the union is yet to conclude consultations with its members on the possible agreement presented by the Federal Government at the meeting.
Asked when the strike which is over two months now would be called off, the union president said “Our members said they want to see evidence of satisfactory implementation of all they have proposed before the strike can be called off.”
Recall that the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige on Monday after the meeting said that the Federal Government has released N15.4 billion for the payment of the salary shortfalls, which according to him is one of the major demands of the union.
“On the issue of salaries in tertiary institutions, especially in universities, the Ministry of Finance and the Office of the Accountant- General provided evidence that as of Dec. 31, 2018, the Federal Government had remitted N15.4 billion.
“Also on the issue of Earned Allowances in the universities system, they also showed us evidence that Mr President has approved the N20 billion to be used to offset the outstanding arrears of the 2009 and 2012 audit verified earnings, in the university system,” he said.
ASUU initially denies reaching agreement with government
Barely two days after the FG-ASUU meeting, ASUU president said the union is yet to reach any agreement with government over the ongoing strike.
The union leader in an interview with Tribune said the negotiations between both parties were still inconclusive.
He added that the team that represented ASUU at the meeting has no final on whether the strike should be suspended after the meeting or not.
Ogunyemi also explained that what is on ground now between the government and the lecturers is not an agreement but a proposal which the union insisted must be written down to show the government’s plans of action.
NANS accuses ASUU of being selfish
Meanwhile, the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) has urged ASUU to suspend the lingering strike since the union has supposedly reached an agreement with the government.
In a statement signed by NANS president, Comrade Bamidele Akpan and sent to Pulse on Tuesday, January 8, 2019, the student body accused the lecturers of not pursuing the interest of Nigerian students.
The statement reads in part:
‘’We urge our members and the general public to know that ASUU do not pursue our collective interest as they claim and desist from subscribing to blackmail and propaganda on the leadership of NANS. Now that both Federal Government and ASUU have resumed negotiation and concessional approval made by the FG, the general public should prevail on ASUU to go back to the classroom in the interest of the country.
‘’No amount of blackmail and propaganda by ASUU and some hardliners will make me lose focus as President of NANS. You must have seen the name dropping and castigation on main stream and social media. I shall continue to discharge my duties in the best interest of Nigerian students. In the next few days there must be visible result which will get our members back to classroom.
ASUU declared an indefinite nationwide strike on Sunday, November 4, 2018 at its NEC meeting held at the Federal University of Technology, Akure.