The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has given the Government conditions to be met before the union would finally call off its over four-month old strike. “I must tell you that our mandate remains. The only mandate we have is that 2009 agreement must be met. We have not reached any agreement with the Federal Government. “Since the Federal Government wants to be releasing N220bn every year for five years, then all monetary and regulatory agencies must sign…. The reason we will ensure this is that we don’t want argument tomorrow that the agreement was entered in error or that they don’t know the implication of signing the agreement. If possible, documents that will provide for automatic deduction of the agreed money at a particular/agreed date must be provided.”
A prominent member of the union, who craved anonymity because he was not authorised to speak on behalf of the union, told Punch that doing this would give the association the confidence that “the Government knows what it is doing when it signed the agreement.” SEE MORE AFTER CUT>>>
He said, “The Central Bank of Nigeria, Ministries of Finance and Labour, National Assembly, Office of the Presidency, National Universities Commission, Tertiary Education Trust Fund, Trade Union Congress and our umbrella body, the Nigeria Labour Congress, must sign with consequences stated.”
Recall that the leadership of ASUU had engaged in a 13-hour marathon meeting with government delegation led by President Goodluck Jonathan in Abuja between Monday and Tuesday.
Asked when the lecturers would call off the strike, a source who was at the meeting said, “I doubt if the strike is ending soon. The problem is with the Finance Minister. Where is government getting N1trn from? A government that could not implement agreement between 2009 and 2013, what is the guarantee that they would honour this agreement.
“It is all politics. We are still awaiting directives from our branches. We have told them the outcome of the meeting with the President but we are waiting for them to tell us what they think of government’s proposal.
“Imagine the Minister of Education has travelled out of the country. He was appointed Vice President for UNESCO General Assembly. How can he travel out of the country without resolving the crisis in the education sector?’”
The agreement reached by both ASUU and the Federal Government is that government would inject N1.1tn into public universities in the next five years. But ASUU need guarantees that this will happen.