FG MOVES TO AVERT FRESH ASUU STRIKE

Labour and Employment Minister Chris Ngige will today review the implementation of the Memorandum of Action (MoA) signed by the Federal Government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).

The minister’s move is to avert another round of disruptions in academic activities in public varsities.

“I will find out from the Accountant-General’s office and the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning tomorrow (today),” Dr. Ngige told The Nation last night.

Ngige’s plan came as the leadership of the ASUU was locked in a meeting last night over alleged failure of the Federal Government to meet its demands.

ASUU President Emmanuel Osodeke said the leadership of the union was in a marathon meeting to review the implementation of the various interventions reached with the Federal Government.

Osodeke said only funds for the revitalisation of public universities have been partially addressed by the government, following the 21-day ultimatum issued by the union.

The three-week ultimatum, issued on November 15, 2021, ends today.

The ASUU leader confirmed that part of the needs assessment funds have been released to the universities.

Speaking earlier on a Channels Television programme: Politics Today, he said the grievances of the university lecturers would be addressed in the next two weeks.

The minister assured of the payment of the N30 billion revitalisation fund and N22.1 billion Earned Allowances before the expiration of the ultimatum to the university lecturers.

An ASUU leader said the union will call a National Executive Council (NEC) meeting this week, following last night’s meeting to decide the next line of action.

The union leader said government was “pushing ASUU to embark on another round of industrial action” with its “lackadaisical attitude towards its demands.”

Osodoke said: “Government has not done its part. Of all the issues, it is only one they have done half way. And this is the needs assessment (revitalisation funds) where they have released some money to the universities. But other issues they have not done.

“All our attempts to get in touch with them have all been rebuffed; no contact.

“All these will be discussed at our meeting and what we will do next will be decided at the end of the meeting.”

On November 15, ASUU issued a three-week ultimatum to meet its demands or risk a fresh shutdown of public universities.

The union had accused the government of not implementing the Memorandum of Action signed in December 2020, which led to the suspension of its nine month old strike last year.

Some of the demands of ASUU include: non release of N30 billion funds for the revitalisation of public universities, non-release of N22.1 billion earned academic allowances (EAA); non-payment of outstanding promotion arrears; lack of progress in the renegotiation of 2009 ASUU-FGN agreement; inconsistency in Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System (IPPIS) payment; and slow pace in the deployment of University Transparency Accountability Solution (UTAS), among others.

When contacted yesterday, the Ngige spoke of plans to take measures that will avert another industrial action in public varsities.

“I know that they have done the revitalisation.”

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