Again, ASUU threatens to go on strike

Chidi Samuel

The Academic Staff Union of Nigerian Universities (ASUU) has threatened to once again shut down the nation’s universities through a nationwide strike if the Federal Government fails to implement the 2009 agreement it reached with the union. Dr Theophilus Lagi, the zonal coordinator, Abuja zone of the union made this known during a press conference.

He said at the briefing that government had only implemented 30 per cent of the provisions on the NEEDS Assessment budget in 2013.

The funds, he said, was disbursed indiscriminately to university councils, as a fall out of the six months industrial action it had embarked upon in 2009.

He therefore urged the  full implementation of the 2009 agreement  reached with the union in order to prevent the nation’s universities from going on strike.

The ASSU coordinator, said: “The struggle to implement the 2009 ASUU/FGN agreement is not about the union. It is not about the personal benefits of the members only.

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“It is about saving the university system from total collapse.

‘The current issues in contention includes funding of universities for revitalization in line with the MOU,FGN entered into with ASUU in 2013, re negotiation of the FGN/ASUU 2009 agreement which ASUU believes will reposition the entire education sector, facilitation of the registration of the Nigerian Universities Pension Management company, NUPEMCO, among others in the list.”

Dr Ben Ugheoke, the University of Abuja (UNIABUJA) Chairman of the union, who was also at the briefing, decried  government’s attitude towards the establishment of the Pension Company despite the fact that the union had fulfilled its side of the bargain including the payment of its counterpart funding.

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He expressed the union’s readiness to go ahead and incorporate the company should the government give the directive.

He said: “We have not joined other PFAs because of the irregularities in the operation of the scheme. The system lacks integrity. That is why we asked our members to wait for our own company.

“Initially, ASUU was told to commit N600 million to the registration; from that N600 million, it was increased to N740m but late last year, it was raised to N1 billion and I want to say that ASUU has already paid the N1 billion. It has been with the government since 2013 and yet government is frustrating the registration of the company.”