Northern Nigerian Breaking News

ASUU accuses FG of insincerity, threatens strike

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) on Thursday said the federal government’s failure to resolve its demands is an invitation to the impending paralysis in Nigeria’s public universities.

Similarly, ASUU alleged lack of sincerity on the part of the Federal and State Governments to address the issues has worsened the living and working conditions of academic staff in public universities.

Addressing journalists after a protest walk by the university lecturers over the contending issues with the Government, ASUU Chairman, Kano University of Science and Technology, Wudil, (KUST) Dr. Aliyu Yusuf Ahmad urged the public, especially the critical stakeholders of the Nigerian University system “to hold the federal government responsible if the union proceed on strike any moment from now.”

Ahmed said that the government’s action to ignore ASUU on the contending issues confirmed the fact that they are not moved by the several clarion calls and efforts the union has made to get it attended to.

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He also expressed worry over the illegal dissolution or absence of Governing Councils in some federal and state universities.

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Ahmed said that the unresolved issues include the stalled renegotiation of the 2009 FGN/ASUU Agreement, funding for the revitalization of public universities based on the FGN-ASUU MoU of 2021, 2013 and the MoA of 2017 among others.

‘’The Federal Government has refused to renegotiate the ASUU/FGN 2009 agreement fifteen years after it was signed. It would be recalled that, owing to the Union persistent call for the review of the 2009 Agreement among other demands led the Federal Government to set up the Wale Babalakin-led Joint Renegotiation Committee in 2017. For irreconcilable reasons, especially due to Wale-Babalakin’s insistence on the re-introduction of the Education Bank which would lead to the introduction of exorbitant tuition fees for students, the process was stalled for over two years.

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”Consequently, the renegotiation committee was reconstituted under the leadership of Prof. Munzali Jibril. With the new Chairman, much progress was made as the Draft Agreement was ready within three (3) months. However, the government refused to sign· the draft agreement for some inexplicable reasons, leading to the appointment of the Late Emeritus Prof. Nimi Briggs joint Committee.

Renegotiation with Nimi Brigs was completed within six months. However, the then Minister of Labor and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, truncated the process at the point of finalizing the reviewed draft agreement. From 2021 till date, the document has remained in its draft form.”

”One of the implications of truncating the renegotiation of the Agreement is that university lecturers in Nigeria have been on the same salary regime since 2009 when the value of naira to a dollar was N120 today it is above Nl,500.”

Furthermore, the Government has left the Nigerian Universities poorly funded.

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”Allowing its infrastructural and staff development to the little funds coming from TETFund which was meant to be an intervention agency rather than the main source of funding. In the aftermath of the 2022 struggle, the Federal Government claimed to have budgeted the sum of one hundred and seventy billion naira (N170B) in the 2023 budget. Our understanding was that N120 billion was meant to address part of the outstanding Needs Assessment Intervention Fund while the balance would go into paying one of the agreed tranches of EAA. Sadly, however, the Government has not released any funds to the universities based on the understanding.”

The union noted that the federal government has been in breach of the universities’ autonomy through the introduction of the corruption-ridden IPPIS, the dissolution of governing councils of universities against the provisions the Universities Miscellaneous Act the introduction of Core Curriculum Minimum Academic Standard (CCMAS) among others.

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Dr. Ahmed noted that these, among many others disregard to the development of education in the country is pushing the university system into yet another strike action.

He urged the Federal Government to ensure an immediate signing and implementation of a reviewed agreement, prompt removal of Federal Universities from IPPIS, reversal of the CCMAS, ensure adequate funding of the university, and payment of all outstanding entitlements of members of Academic Staff in Federal Universities.

The KUST ASUU branch also called on the Kano State Government to ensure the fulfilment of agreements reached between it and the branch.

It could be recalled that the lecturers went on a two-week warning strike over issues bothering on funding, the constitution of the governing council and some outstanding among others.

‘’We call on parents, students, stakeholders and the general public to continue to support its legitimate struggle for the betterment of the university system’’

 

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