The Academic Staff Union of Nigerian Universities (ASUU) Wednesday threatened to shut down the nation’s universities through a nationwide strike if the Federal Government fails to implement the 2009 agreement it reached with the union.
Zonal Coordinator, Abuja Zone of the union, Dr Theophilus Lagi, stated this at a briefing in Abuja on Wednesday.
Dr. Lagi stated that government had only implemented 30 per cent of the provisions on the NEEDS Assessment budget in 2013.
The funds, he said, was disbursed indiscriminately to university councils, as a fall out of the six months industrial action it had embarked upon in 2009.
He therefore called on the federal government to fully implement the 2009 agreement it reached with the union in order to prevent the nation’s universities from going on strike.
Lagi said: “The struggle to implement the 2009 ASUU/FGN agreement is not about the union. It is not about the personal benefits of the members only.
“It is about saving the university system from total collapse.
‘The current issues in contention includes funding of universities for revitalization in line with the MOU,FGN entered into with ASUU in 2013, re negotiation of the FGN/ASUU 2009 agreement which ASUU believes will reposition the entire education sector, facilitation of the registration of the Nigerian Universities Pension Management company, NUPEMCO, among others in the list.”
Dr Lagi who also regretted the failure by government to reply series of letters written to it and not taking any concrete steps towards implementing the core provisions of the agreement, described the present step by the union as designed to appeal and conscientiously inform Nigerians on the state of neglect of lectures by government and to serve as a prelude to full blown strike.
Earlier, the University of Abuja (UNIABUJA) Chairman of the union, Dr Ben Ugheoke, who was also at the briefing, frowned at government’s attitude towards the establishment of the Pension Company despite the fact that the union had fulfilled its side of the bargain including the payment of its counterpart funding.
Ugheoke stated that the union was ready to go ahead and incorporate the company should the government give the directive.
He said: “We have not joined other PFAs because of the irregularities in the operation of the scheme. The system lacks integrity. That is why we asked our members to wait for our own company.
“Initially, ASUU was told to commit N600 million to the registration; from that N600 million, it was increased to N740m but late last year, it was raised to N1 billion and I want to say that ASUU has already paid the N1 billion. It has been with the government since 2013 and yet government is frustrating the registration of the company.”
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