The Federal Government on Tuesday claimed it had met almost all the demands of the Academic Staff Union of Universities after releasing an additional N30 billion to the union.
Gabriel Suswam, Chairman of the National Economic Empowerment Development Strategy (NEEDS) assessment implementation committee for universities, said that the Ministry of Education would disburse the fund to the various universities for the payment of lecturers’ allowances.
While appealing to ASUU to shelve its industrial action, Mr. Suswam frowned at the union’s claims that the earlier disbursement of N100 billion by the government for infrastructures in the universities was done without consultations.
Last week, the ASUU leadership expressed concerns that a clear procedure for assessing the funds by the universities is yet to be defined.
Nasir Fagge, ASUU President, had insisted that only the provision of N500 billion would meet the immediate needs of the universities.
“We observe that the Committee is so far mentioning only N100 billion. If the implementation is to be related to the funding requirements in the 2009 ASUU/FGN Agreement and the January 2012 MoU, what is due for 2012 and 2013 is N500 billion, not N100 billion,” Mr. Fagge had said.
But Mr. Suswam said ASUU was carried carried along in the entire process where N100 billion was agreed.
“ASUU participated in all the meetings where it was agreed to raise N100 billion, which has already been distributed to all the universities,” said Mr. Suswam, Governor of Benue State.
“In fact, the president of ASUU nominated one Dr. Baffa, who is very resourceful. He did all the work, and presented the criteria for distribution of the money which is based on the population of each university,” Mr. Suswam added.
The Benue State governor added that after drawing up the draft, the Committee sent the document to ASUU for their perusal.
“Instead, they wrote me a letter accusing the committee of insincerity. The councils are the ones that would verify what we are owing, go and ask them, ASUU said no, that unless we put N92 billion on the table,” Mr. Suswam said.
Mr. Suswam said that governing councils, and not his committee, would be responsible for awarding contracts in the universities, adding that the lecturers’ strike has assumed a political dimension.