ASUU Strike: We don’t have money to pay lecturers – Federal Government

chris-ngige-picture

The Federal Government said on Wednesday that it has met seven of the eight demands of aggrieved university lecturers.

One of the demands that could not be met is the N284 billion allowance owed the lecturers, and which the government cannot meet now because of “recession,” an official said.

The university lecturers, ASUU, embarked on a one week warning strike last Wednesday which was called off yesterday evening.

ASUU President, Biodun Ogunyemi, who announced the call off, directed all lecturers to return to work while negotiation with the government towards avoiding an indefinite strike continues.

One major demand of ASUU is the exclusion of universities from the Treasury Single Account, TSA, which they said was stalling research in universities.

Other demands include the payment of Earned Academic Allowances, effective funding of universities, and an end to the payment of fractions of salaries to some institutions.

On Wednesday, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, briefed State House correspondents on the lecturer’s demands.

At the end of the meeting of the Federal Executive Council in Abuja, Mr. Ngige said the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, briefed the Council on the ASUU strike.

He said the union had about eight demands and “seven of them have been trashed”.

Mr. Ngige said the Nigerian government “conceded to them the right to exclude endowment funds that accrued to Universities from the Single Treasury Account, TSA.”

He said the TSA is not meant to punish anyone, but an account that enables any government institution to know what their financial position is at any given time.

“It also makes for accountability. You pay in whatever you drive from government funds, ask for it back and you get it.

“The only thing is that you must do the paper work for the accountability aspect of it to be there. And for any institution, they should be able to look at first glance, see the monies they have in account A, B or C at the CBN, add up and know what they have,” he said.

The minister said although government agreed to ASUU’s demand on TSA, it was only limited to endowment funds.

“But that doesn’t also mean that at the end of the day, the University councils will not have the right to audit such an account, that is really the only area that is still contentious,” he said.

Mr. Ngige added that negotiation was also not completed with regards to the earned allowances.

He said the earned allowances were not resolved because “everybody knows and agree that we are in recession”.

“If we are in a recession and you are asking us to pay you N284 billion, nobody will pay it because the money is not there,” he said.

He said the federal government has, however, offered to provide some money for the allowances “pending when we finish auditing of the first tranche of money that has been given to them in that same area of earned allowances”.

“That tranche of money that they collected is being audited, but the auditing process is very slow, because some people for some strange reasons are not allowing auditing to take place.

“So a time frame has been fixed of six months within which the auditing will be done,” he said.

Mr. Ngige added that within the six month period, the government has offered to be making some payments on a monthly basis.

He said ASUU has equally offered to make a counter proposal to the government.

“So both parties have gone back to their principals,” he said. “ASUU has a principal which is the national executive body and government has come back to look at our finances viz a viz with the National Assembly which will appropriate that particular fund.

“Because for 2016 there is nothing in the budget for it. It will be done and appropriated as at when due.

“Next week, they (ASUU) will come back with their counter proposal,” he said.


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  • Nigerian Citizen

    By the time this trial and error government finished with Nigeria, nothing will be left not destroyed by those whose tumbling and fumbling acts have reduced important national issues to childish jokes.

    • Paul Young

      Do you even know why ASUU is threatening strike? Or you just feel d need to blab at all times

    • St

      Are you sure you understand English or ever had anything to do with Nigeria’s Education system?

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  • Tony Asiegbu

    I sincerely think ASUU and indeed NLC and TUC are the biggest obstacles to our ability to move our country out of the web of corruption. You may ask how? My reason is simple. Most Nigerians including the labour unions themselves know that corruption and impunity (from both those in the executive and especially the legislature) is the main reason why an agreement reached in 2009 when there was over $60bn in our foreign reserves outside the amount in excess crude account and oil still selling then at an average of $100 per barrel could not be implemented.
    What did they do, instead of taking concrete actions, they always resort to strikes thereby depriving children of ordinary Nigerians including their own children the opportunity of an uninterrupted tertiary education.
    Look at the present situation, IN THIS RECESSION, when this same agreement of 2009 is yet to be met, and just at about the time ASUU gave notice of the warning strike, the house of representatives awarded its members exotic imported cars totally N3.6bn, (recall the senate had also already taken theirs earlier in the year with outcry and even protests from everywhere else except the labour unions including Asuu).
    Now a group of Nigerians considered this action of the legislators so insensitive that they protested and even occupied the NASS as it were, and instead of Asuu to mobilize its members to Abuja in solidarity AND sensitization on this agreement, and let these legislators who always pretend to be mediating between the federal govt and the unions during strikes that Nigerians now know better, they once again resorted to the same old tactics of strike WHICH HAS NEVER WORKED AND I DARE SAY WILL NEVER WORK WITH THE KIND OF SO CALLED LEADERS WE HAVE, BECAUSE THEIR CHILDREN ARE NOT IN SCHOOL HERE.
    LABOUR SHOULD ACTUALLY BE THE ARROWHEAD OF THIS POSITIVE CHANGE WE YEARN FOR IN NIGERIA.

    • Adamu Ndagi

      Thanks, Mr. Tony. How many of an average Nigerians don’t want to be in the NASS? Like you pointed out, many opportunities were available for our so called Unionists to help fight corruption and it’s likes, such as budget padding, but, they turned deft ears as nothing is happening? This is because they too are yearning to be there. Take stock, at least, 25% to 30% of the NASSA members were from classroom, because of clamoring for corrupted money. May God/Allah change our negative attitude for the betterment and progress of Nigeria and Nigerian citizens.

      • suleiman

        I thought the corrupt and lousy Oshiomole was the president of the NLC. Have you confronted him?

    • Rommel

      Blessed art thou

    • suleiman

      You are talking trash here. Reflect back on your days as a university student, were you happy with the facilities in your classrooms? Only in Nigeria where you have students hanging on the windows to take lectures. Only in Nigeria you have classes with 1000 students in a classroom that was meant for 250 students. Only in Nigeria you have science students not having chemicals and lab equipment for their practicals. Only in Nigeria do we have students reading computer science without computers in the classroom. What kind of country are you hoping for? Don’t you think it is because of a lack of a viable educational system we are breeding all these corrupt leaders? When you have an illiterate leading your country with a crop of illiterates as his ministers and advisers why would they value education? Government after government has refused to develop the education sector because they know once people get good education they will oppose them. Their job is to perpetually keep as many people from getting education as possible so that the literacy rate can remain low. Once this happens then anything goes and many of your type will be screaming, God’s will or “haka Allah ya so.” What is it that a high court does better than a professor who earns half of his salary? Why does a high court judge earn at least N1 million with a police escort while a professor ears just about N400,000? I think you should use your head if you have one.

      • Hamza

        I think you didn’t really understand the submission above. I agree with the guy. ASUU may be right. But the timing is wrong. And they don’t really care about the well being of the whole country. Remember, education is just a sector in the whole society. ASUU can not expect a very good education sector when the whole country is in shambles. The whole body is sick and so u can’t expect one system (educ or health) to be fine. So instead of ASUU just fighting for education, and doctors fighting for health, NLC and others etc, ASUU could use it’s energy always to agitate for and struggle for a better WHOLE COUNTRY. Not just when there is problem in educ sector. Thanks

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