ASUU, FG reach agreement, may call off strike

Ezekiel Johnson
Ezekiel Johnson
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Ngige and Ogunyemi

The nationwide strike embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, may be called off any moment following the agreement reached with the Federal Government on Monday.

This follows the release of N15.4 billon to the union, according to the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige.

He made this known after a meeting that lasted about two hours between the leadership of the union and representatives of the Federal Government, in Abuja.

The money, he said, was for the payment of the salary shortfalls of the lecturers.

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ASUU embarked on strike on November 4, 2018, over the need for the Federal Government to improve the funding of universities and other related issues bordering on the welfare of lecturers.

Said Ngige:  “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 at December 31, 2018 the Federal Government had remitted N15.4 billon.

“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.

“This money is being worked on, and will be released to ASUU as soon as the process is completed.

“ASUU has fulfilled its own side of the bargain in terms of NUPECO, which is the Pension Fund Administration company that ASUU has floated to take care of pension for people in the university system.

“The Pension regulator, the PENCOM, has asked certain positions to be fulfilled and they gave ASUU a temporary license, which has expired.

“ASUU has submitted all the documents and fulfilled all conditions needed to get their license.”

Ngige explained too that there was also an agreement for the revitalisation of 20 universities for the next six years starting from 2019.

He added:  “We have also offered ASUU some token to show good faith and that amount is known to them. Issue of visitation panel is also taken care of.

“These were major issues discussed and ASUU is supposed to take back the resolution of these meetings to their members, while we expect that they will get back to us by Thursday.”

The National President of ASUU, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, said the National Executive Committee of the union would review its decisions based on the new agreement actions of the government.

The decision to call off the strike or continue, according to him, could only be taken after NEC meeting.

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