Posted by News Express | 21 January 2019 | 1,277 times
National President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, has said the only condition the union would consider to suspend the ongoing nationwide strike is for the Federal Government to pay, at least, N50 billion Revitalisation Fund; out of one tranche of N220 billion.
Prof. Ogunyemi told newsmen in Ibadan, at the weekend, ahead of the union’s scheduled meeting with the federal government, today, that the federal government must also present concrete evidence of implementation of the promised N20 billion Earned Academic Allowances (EAA) and how the balance of N85 billion would be paid; with timelines.
According to Ogunyemi, the union and government, since the strike started, “have had seven meetings. We have been having promises. We have demanded that some of their promises, which we took back to our members, some items on their list, have been rejected. And, there have been demands for the review. We want them to pay, immediately, N50 billion as a sign of commitment this quarter and, for the next three quarters, government can pay N50 billion each quarter. So, our members have rejected the N20 billion they proposed that will be spread over two quarters in 2019. Our members have insisted on the release of at least N50 billion.
“In relation to EAA, which they have an outstanding N105 billion, our members are saying even if you (government) are releasing N20 billion, let it be stated clearly that it is only for ASUU members and the balance which you promised to pay in four instalments, attach timelines to the balance and figures.
“In 2017, this government promised to mainstream the EAA into the budget so that we won’t be coming to talk about arrears. If government had put that into the 2018 budget, we would not be talking about arrears now. Our members are saying government should take steps, mainstream it into the 2019 budget and that is note late because they (National Assembly) are still working on the budget.”
Ogunyemi also disclosed promises by the federal government that it would address the issue by January 23. We have gone beyond these promises. In fact, the first meeting we had, we were told that before the end of the week, the matter would be resolved. But, that was government speaking. After that first meeting, we have had some other six meetings, yet, we are still relating to promises. We don’t really take government’s promises seriously again because we have heard promises upon promises.
“What our members told us, when we were starting this meeting, was, ‘come back with concrete evidence of implementation.’ And, we have told them (government) in clear terms. By the way, let me also tell you that today, we are meeting again, and we are still hoping that concrete evidence on implementation will be put on the table.
“So, that is what our members have been talking about. The National Executive Council of ASUU is our principal, and, each time we engage government, we keep reminding them that our members said or our NEC said ‘don’t come back to us unless you have concrete evidence of implementation.’ So, on that we stand.”
ASUU began an indefinite strike on November 2018 and accused government of not implementing the Memorandum of Action signed with it. The union declared that the industrial action would be total as all federal and state varsities would join the strike. The union made the announcement after a NEC meeting at the Federal University of Technology, Akure, Ondo State.
•Sourced from a Daily Sun report
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