- ASUU’s Lagos state chapter, says it is disappointing that the federal government has not disbursed up to N220b to universities since 2013
- Olusiji Sowande, the zonal coordinator of the chapter, calls on Nigerians to urge the government to fulfill its promises made to higher institutions
- NLC declares indefinite warning strike over minimum wage
The Lagos state chapter of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), has described the federal government’s release of N20 billion to fund the university system as blackmail.
The chapter at a conference at the University of Lagos (UNILAG) on Tuesday, September 25, said the money should have been released in October 2017 and not now.
It said the union and the government ought to be renegotiating the FGN-ASUU 2009 agreement, The Nation reports.
The zonal coordinator of the chapter, Olusiji Sowande, said the money was part of the N1.3 trillion both parties agreed should be invested in upgrading facilities in public universities within six years.
ASUU said it was disappointing that that the amount disbursed was not up to N220 billion since 2013.
“Let me make it clear that government has never released any money to our union. The manner in which the announcement was made was intended to blackmail ASUU,” Sowande said.
“Government releases are usually made to the benefiting universities. The purported release of N20 billion is coming after one year as against one month agreed in the MoA of 2017. Our expectation is that by now, government should have offset more than N220 billion to the Nigerian public universities as contained in the 2013 MoU for upgrade of facilities and infrastructural development."
“Over a long period of 14 months that we participated in the renegotiation, there has been no meaningful progress made, and this was principally due to the disposition of the leader of the government team, Dr. Wale Babalakin. His autocratic habit of imposing his views on the renegotiation committee was a serious clog in the wheel of progress of the renegotiation process.
“With this attitude, which is against the principle of collective bargaining, it was impossible to build on the gains of previous agreements, Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and MoA with Nigerian government, in order to arrive at a mutually agreed path of repositioning the Nigerian university system for global reckoning and competitiveness.”
Sowande called on Nigerians to urge the government to fulfill its promises, warning that that the union’s patience was wearing thin as it would embark on another industrial action.
Meanwhile, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has declared the starting of an indefinite warning strike to press the Buhari administration to adopt a new minimum wage for workers.
Premium Times reports that the strike will start in the midnight of Wednesday, September 26. Its sister labour group, the Trade Union Congress, had earlier on Tuesday, September 25, announced it would begin strike from the early hours of Thursday, September 27, following the federal government’s failure to honour its ultimatum on the new minimum wage.
Both unions had earlier said the organised labour’s demand to reconvene a tripartite committee on the national minimum wage for workers was not met, and that the leaders have cautioned the federal government against foot-dragging on the new minimum wage.
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