The meeting between the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and the Federal Government yesterday, which was widely expected to end the ongoing lecturers’ strike, ended in a stalemate.
ASUU leadership which met the Governor Gabriel Suswam-led government negotiating team for over three hours at the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation in Abuja, said government was trying to renegotiate a 2009 agreement both parties have already agreed upon.
ASUU president Nasir Fagge told reporters that the objective of the current strike is to get government to “implement the 2009 ASUU/FGN and particularly to implement the provisions of the memorandum of understanding we reached with the government in 2012.”
He said the outcome of yesterday’s meeting shows that not much has been achieved because work has not yet commenced on the aspects of the agreement on needs assessments which was referred to the Ministry of Education.
Speaking on the N87 billion “earned allowance” which his union is demanding he said that “since government made it clear that it doesn’t have the money to implement that…that government is going to consult the universities’ governing councils…if there is any need for subsequent meeting, we will do that.”
However, the government’s side said release of the N400 billion earmarked for infrastructure in the universities will start by September 1, and that only N30 billion for earned allowances will be provided to the lecturers.
Secretary to the Government of the Federation Anyim Pius Anyim said the money will be paid after “reasonable due process determined by the universities’ councils.”
Responding to the offer of N30 billion, ASUU reiterated its stance of not renegotiating but only demanding an implementation of the 2009 agreement.
“I think it is important to clarify that at this point we are not making a demand; there was an agreement with government, and even that aspect that government is talking about, the earned entitlement of staff of the universities, that includes the technical staff, members of the senior staff association and members of the non academic staff… what the union is talking about is the implementation of 2009 agreement not the renegotiation of the agreement,” Fagge said.
Both sides agreed to consult further after the meeting.
Fagge expressed hope that government will do the right thing saying, “we will wait to hear from government after the consultation with councils. Whatever they place on the table, we will look at it. But for now, we will also go back and report tour principals on the development.”
No date was agreed for a future meeting.