The Federal Government pleaded with primary and secondary school teachers not to join the striking lecturers of Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
This request was announced by the the Supervising Minister of Education, Nyesom Wike, on Wednesday in a meeting with the leadership of the Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT) in Abuja.
Minister also disclosed that FG met 80 per cent of ASUU’s demands. He added, that the yet-to-be resolved issues were those of earned allowances and the N400 billion annual capital expenditure to universities demanded by ASUU.
“The N400 billion they are demanding is not part of federal budget or Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) intervention. And out of the N92 billion earned allowances demanded by ASUU, government has offered N30 billion to them for a start,’’ Wike explained.
According to him, ASUU is considering the offer and is to announce their decision om Thursday.
“So, the purpose of this meeting is to tell you [NUT] how far we have gone because of the reports and the letter we got from the union that you are going on a solidarity strike with ASUU,’’ he said.
Minster also apologised to the NUT for his comments on Monday that the union had no business going on a solidarity strike with ASUU, noting he spoke “unofficially’’.
Also speaking at the meeting, the Minister of Labour, Emeka Wogu, appealed to NUT not to join the proposed strike, saying it would only complicate the situation.
Wogu said that NUT might not have been briefed appropriately on government’s efforts to resolve the crisis with ASUU:
“One thing that is clear is that the Federal Government has started the implementation of the 2009 agreement. The matter can still be resolved,’’ he said.
In his response, the National President of NUT, Michael Olukoya, said teachers, under the umbrella of NUT were concerned with the lingering ASUU strike that was threatening the collapse of the education sector. He called all the stakeholders to come together and explore ways of ending the crisis.
He advised both ASUU and the FG to “put Nigeria first’’ in their negotiations.
The NUT boss also called for the review of the conditions for accessing the intervention fund as the stringent conditions was preventing the institutions from benefiting from the fund.
It will be reminded that in the end of September NUT gave a two-week ultimatum to the FG and ASUU to end the strike. ASUU has been on an indefinite strike since June 30. The lecturers protest against the FG’s failure to honour a 2009 agreement signed between it and ASUU in 2009 pertaining to issues of university funding and improvement of infrastructure in the sector.