Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has said that unless the Federal Government changes its tactics and do the right thing, universities in the country will remain shut “as long as they continue with the deception.”
ASUU President, Dr. Nasir Isa Fagge, reacting to the directive by the Federal Government that the striking lecturers should return to classrooms, said such order should not be taken seriously.
He told Nigerian Tribune on telephone in Abuja on Sunday that the union has had enough of such “deception from IBB, to Abacha, Obasanjo and now President Goodluck Jonathan.”
Fagge insisted that the Federal Government had an agreement with ASUU in 2009 and that it was that agreement the union is asking the government to implement.
He said: “I think when two people sit down and talk, they should be bound by the agreement. Let government change its tactics and do the right thing, then we will return to work.”
Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim had on Friday last week while addressing the Chairmen of Governing Councils and Vice-Chancellors of Nigerian Universities directed ASUU to return to work while pending issues are being resolved.
The directive was against the backdrop of reports credited to ASUU leadership that it would discontinue talks with the government.
ASUU began its current strike on July 1 following failure of government to implement a 2009 agreement on public universities funding between the two parties.
However, ASUU President, told Nigerian Tribune in Abuja that the union was not averse to further discussion with the government but that “the right thing must be done.”
SGF had on Friday last week directed all the governing councils of various universities to ensure that gates of the institutions are opened to students as from this week.
He said: “Mr. President is fully committed to bringing the students back to school and appreciates the patience of parents and students as government is making every effort to revitalise the university system.
“By this demonstration of clear commitment to revitalise the university system, government hereby urges every staff member of the nation’s universities to return to work as all issues are being resolved.
“With particular reference to the contentious issue of Earned Allowance, every member of staff of the universities that is so entitled should verify his claim with his university council and accordingly get paid,” he said.
SGF said the Earned Allowance was the major issue in dispute, adding that traditionally, universities pay the deserving staff but “because of the amount which ASUU now claims as arrears, government decided to assist the university councils to pay.”
He noted that government did not receive any computation of amount involved until February, 2013 and that ASUU demanded for an outrageous sum of N92 billion arrears for three years’ payment based on percentage of range of between 15 and 20 per cent of personnel cost.
Senator Anyim further said: “After series of discussions involving the National Assembly, the SGF, the Chairman of the Needs Assessment Report Implementation Committee, Governor Gabriel Suswam; the Ministers of Education, Labour and the Coordinating Minister for the Economy and other stakeholders, government has now provided N30 billion to support the university councils in settling the Earned Allowances.”
According to him, all other issues of Consolidated Salary Structure for Academics in Nigerian Universities (CONUASS II, amendment of Pensionable Retirement Age of Academics in the Professorial cadre to 70 years have been fully implemented.
Anyim said most of the issues contained in the 2009 agreement, which necessitated the current strike have been fully met except for the earned allowances which ASUU pegged at N92 billion.