The Federal Government yesterday said it would address the basic demands of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, next week.
The Minister of Finance, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, disclosed this at a tripartite meeting organised by Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, between the government and the union in Abuja yesterday. It would be recalled that ASUU had issued a three-week ultimatum to the Federal Government to honour agreements reached or the union would commence a strike.
The union had demanded the release of N30 billion as part of the first tranche of Universities Revitalisation Fund. The union also demanded the release of N22.12 billion which is to be paid to its members as earned allowances. The union also insisted on the implementation of University Transparency Accountability Solutions (UTAS) and a re-negotiation of the 2009 agreement between the union and the Federal Government. But addressing the meeting, Zainab said the process to meet the demands of the union had commenced and that the monies would be paid before the end of next week.
Earlier, Gbajabiamila said that he called the meeting so that the issues of strike would be addressed once and for all. Gbajabiamila said that the consequences of interrupting the education process were enormous and that the unintended consequences were more deadly.
“We cannot sit here as leaders and watch things fall apart; education is very important and no amount of money put into it is too much. This cannot be a perennial exercise, strike cannot be a tool we use all the time; it should be the last resort after all other efforts have failed. We need to resolve this issue once and for all,” he said.
The President of ASUU, Prof. Victor Emmanuel, said that the union had given the government a three-week ultimatum after which it would commence the strike. He said that he would convey the information to the members of the union and would bring their response back to the speaker.
Vanguard Nigeria Newspaper