Written by Godfrey AKON

Why FG delayed meeting ASUU’s demands - Minister

The Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, has attributed delays in meeting some demands of the Academy Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, to weak financial base of the federal government.

Adamu, who stated this while briefing journalists in Abuja, complained that previous administrations made bogus promises to the unions when the economy was quite buoyant.

"Let me begin by saying that the Issues necessitating this strike dates back to 2009 when the then government of late President Umaru Musa Yar Adua signed an agreement with the ASUU on funding of the federal universities in the country.

"The agreement provided for funding of Universities to the tune of N1.3trillion over a period of six years. It is instructive to know that Nigeria was experiencing the oil boom at that time.  It was therefore expected that government will be able to meet the terms of agreement.

"However, international oil prices crashed in subsequent years thereby throwing the country into economic hardship, at the inception of this administration the country's economic fortunes worsened, nose diving into recession, with dire consequences on all sectors of the economy, including education,” he said.

Adamu’s remarks come on the heels of an indefinite strike by ASUU following delays in implementing the Memorandum of Understanding the union reached with the federal government in 2017.

After its Executive Council Meeting in Akure, Ondo State, last Sunday, ASUU had declared total and indefinite strike to compel government to conclude the renegotiation of agreements reached with the union in 2009.

While announcing the commencement of the strike, National President of ASUU, Prof Biodun Ogunyemi, had said after the union waited patiently, government failed to renegotiate the agreements using the principle of collective bargaining.

“Having waited patiently for action and meaningful negotiation with reasonable men using the principle of collective bargaining that ASUU at its NEC meeting of 3rd and 4th November 2018 at the Federal University of Technology, Akure FUTA, resolved to resume the nationwide strike action it suspended in September 2017 with immediate effect.

"This strike will be total comprehensive and indefinite. Our members shall withdraw their services until government fully implement all outstanding issues as contained in the MOA of 2017, and concludes the renegotiation of the 2009 agreements.

“We have today been subjected to 20 years of continued re-colonization under alleged democracy in which all that the ruling circle have been regrouping among themselves in their various faction they called political parties.”

Ogunyemi noted the release of a paltry N20 billion revitalization fund while same government released N1.3 trillion to a distressed bank recently.

He argued that the government was not interested in public universities as the children of the top politicians and rich men in the society patronize private universities at the detriment of public institutions.

 

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