Strike: FG, ASUU agree on four contending issues

The Academic Staff Union of Universities and Federal Government agreed on four critical issues on Thursday.

The agreement was reached during a meeting called by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila.

Following the threat of a strike by the University trade union due to the failure of the Federal to implement some part of the agreement entered into by the two parties, Gbajabiamila had called for a meeting between the Ministers of Finance and Education and the leadership of ASUU.

“At the meeting attended by all parties involved, Gbajabiamila brokered a truce with the Federal government and ASUU agreeing on four major contending issues,” a press statement issued after the meeting noted.

The statement titled, ‘Strike: Gbajabiamila brokers truce between FG, ASUU …as parties agree on four critical issues’, was issued by the Office of the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

The statement listed issues agreed upon as revitalization fund, Integrated Personnel, and Payroll Information System, Earned Academic Allowances, and renegotiation of 2019 agreement.

During the meeting, the statement said it was agreed that Federal Government will make available within one week, the payment of N30 billion University Revitalization fund.

It was also agreed that the Federal government will sort out the N22 billion Earned Academic Allowances component from the Education sector budget.

On Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System, the Minister of Finance, Hajia Zainab Ahmed, said the government is waiting for the report of the Nigerian Information Technology Development Agency before the next step would be taken

The tripartite meeting also agreed that the renegotiation of the 2009 N1.3 trillion agreement between the ASUU and the Federal government would commence a week from today.

Earlier at the meeting, ASUU President, Prof Victor Osodeke, said some of the issues in contention have been resolved but for the listed.

He said “the union had to call for strike action due to the tradition of reneging on agreements by the Federal Government”, the last of which was last month, October.

However, the ASUU leadership did not state whether its plan to embark on a fresh strike would be shelved or not.

Calls put across to Osodeke for clarification were not answered as of the time of filing this report.

On the other hand, the Ministers of Finance Ahmed and Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, claimed that the government was on the verge of releasing funds for the Revitalization of Universities as well as the EAA.

After the meeting, a statement by Lanre Lasisi, Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the Speaker, House of Representatives, quoted Gbajiamila as saying, “It will be the best for ASUU to please step down the impending strike since there’s no issue that has been left unresolved.

“It will be irresponsible of us, as leaders to sit and watch things deteriorate.

“We have to be mindful of the unintended consequences of strike actions that can be far-reaching, knowing how important education is to the children and the future of our country.

“Whatever the issues, strikes can not continue to be a perennial exercise, strikes can not be the tool we use at all time but only when things finally break down.

“On the other hand, the government should also not go into agreements it can not honour.

“While everybody has an equal share of the blame, how to resolve the issue this the most thing important and that is why we are here.”

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Mitchel Fatunbi

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