FG has no funds to meet ASUU’s demands – Ngige - AfrobadooTV
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FG has no funds to meet ASUU’s demands – Ngige

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The Minister of Labour, Employment and Productivity, Dr Chris Ngige, has stated that the Federal Government does not have the funds to meet its obligations in the agreement signed with the Academic Staff Union of Universities.

Ngige said the government was considering a renegotiation of the terms of the agreement with ASUU, in the effort to end the ongoing strike by university lecturers.

The minister made this known while appearing on Politics Today, a current affairs programme on Channels Television monitored from Abuja on Thursday.

When asked if he agreed that the government had failed to fulfil its side of the agreement with ASUU, Ngige said no.

On when the conflict would end, the minister said, “I am hoping that ASUU should do the right thing and contact their members on the renegotiations that we have had in the last two weeks. First, the issue of earned academic allowances, we have agreed, giving a timeline to the NUC to go back to the old template used in working out the 2021 earned academic allowance – 10.8 per cent of personnel cost.“We want them to go back very quickly and use that same formula and get us what we are supposed to pay in 2022. That is agreed by everybody.”

On revitalisation of the universities, Ngige said “the amount is not very clear, what has been paid.” He said the actual amount paid is being determined.

On the release of N1.3tn between 2013 and 2018 to revitalise the universities, with N200bn released in 2013 and only N70bn released in the last seven years, the minister, who noted that government is a continuum, stated that the N1.3tn was promised by the Goodluck Jonathan-led administration. According to him, oil was selling at between $100 and $120 per barrel then, while the revenue of the federation was rich.

“The government now says ‘we don’t have the money to pay it.’ This was the agreement between 2016 and 2017,” he said, adding that the government still does not have the funds to fulfil its side of the bargain.

Ngige said the government is now calling for renegotiation of the agreement with ASUU, “unless you want us to go and take money from TETFUND and deceive you as it was done in that period, and place it for you on the table.”

Meanwhile, the Federal Ministry of Education has constituted another committee to renegotiate the 2009 agreement with ASUU.

Announcing the reconstitution of the renegotiation team, the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, in a statement by the Director of Press and Public Relations in the Ministry of Education, Ben Goong, emphasised the need to speedily bring to conclusion the outstanding issues in the 2009 agreement.

The statement read in part, “The Federal Government has reconstituted a team to renegotiate the 2009 agreement it had with the Academic Staff Union of Universities.

“Reconstituting the team, Education Minister, Adamu Adamu, said there was a need to speedily bring to conclusion all outstanding issues in the 2009 agreement in order to achieve the desired peace on our campuses.

“The Chairman of the reconstituted 2009 FGN/University-based Unions Agreements Re-negotiation Team is Prof Nimi Briggs, Pro-Chancellor, Alex Ekwueme Federal University, Ndufu-Alike Ikwo.

“Members of the team include Lawrence Patrick Ngbale, Pro-Chancellor, Federal University, Wukari (North-East); Prof Funmi Togunu-Bickersteth, Pro-Chancellor, Federal University, Birnin Kebbi (South-West); Senator Chris Adighije, Pro-Chancellor, Federal University, Lokoja (South-East); and Prof Olu Obafemi, Pro-Chancellor, Federal University of Technology, Minna (North-Central).

“Others are Prof Zubairu Iliyasu, Pro-Chancellor, Kano State University of Science & Technology (North-West); and Matthew B. Seiyefa, Pro-Chancellor, Niger Delta University, Wilberforce Island (South-South).

“The team will be inaugurated by the minister by 12noon, on Monday, March 7, 2022 at the minister’s conference room, headquarters of the Federal Ministry of Education, Abuja.

“All advisers and observers in the Federal Government/University-based Unions 2009 Agreements Re-negotiation Team are expected to attend the inauguration.”

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Education

ASUU to hold emergency meeting tomorrow over suspension of strike

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ABUJA-THE striking Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, will convene emergency National Executive Council, NEC meeting on Thursday, to review recent developments, especially the positive response from the federal government to its demands.

Preparatory to the meeting expected to take place at its headquarters in Abuja,the union has directed its zonal branches to collate the views of members through vote during the meetings expected to hold tomorrow in its various zones across the country.

The outcome of the meeting would result in suspension of the strike on late Thursday or Friday morning.

This came as report had emerge in the social media space earlier on Tuesday, claiming that the union had called off the almost 8-month old strike and subsequently directed members to resume academic activities on October 17.

ASUU president, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, while responding to enquiry to that effect, dismissed the report, saying the strike was yet to be suspended.

He, however,said the union was working towards the suspension of the action, saying the action would be dependent on the views of members from the zonal meetings.

The latest action of the lecturers’union came following the intervention of the Speaker of the House of Representatives,Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila.

The Speaker had on Monday,after a meeting with ASUU president and other members,assured that the strike would be suspended very soon, saying his meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari over the union’s action was fruitful.

Earlier,human rights lawyer and counsel to ASUU,Femi Falana,SAN, had also said the union would soon call off its nearly eight-month old strike.

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We’re hopeful of end to strike in few days, says ASUU

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PRESIDENT of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, Emmanuel Osodeke, said yesterday the union was optimistic of ending its strike soon, noting that for the first time, there is light at the end of the tunnel

It will be recalled that the Appeal Court had last Friday, ordered the union to ask its members to return to work within, after it (union) appealed an early order by the National Industrial Court of Nigeria, NICN, to resume.

Osodeke, spoke yesterday at a meeting with the leadership of the House of Representatives, whose speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, and his team recently intervened in the disadreement between the federal government and the union on the strike which had been on for eight months.

He said: “Please, let all of us work together to put a beautiful end to this thing we have started, so that every Nigerian will be proud that we have universities we can be proud of.

“Once again, I want to thank you, I also extend our appreciation to the president for intervening, I want to appeal that in the future, we should not allow strike to linger. Strike should not go beyond two days.

“If the way the National Assembly has intervened, if we had done that long ago, or those in charge of labour and education had done exactly this, we would not be where we are today. We would not have stayed more than two or three weeks on this strike. There is strike all over the world, UK, US, all over, but they don’t allow it to last.

“So, once again, thank you very much and we hope that working together, in the next few days, we can put an end to this particular imbroglio in the Nigerian educational system.”

The meeting was called at the instance of the speaker to brief the union about the intervention of the House with President Muhammadu Buhari on the strike.

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Education

UNILAG appoints new bursar

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The Governing Council of the University of Lagos has appointed Mrs Oluwafunmilayo Adekunle as the new Bursar of the university.

Adekunle’s five-year tenure as the bursar of the institution will commence from Thursday, November 3, 2022.

This is contained in a statement released by the Communication Unit of UNILAG on Thursday.

The statement read, “The Governing Council of the University of Lagos, at its meeting on Thursday, October 6, 2022, approved the appointment of Mrs. Oluwafunmilayo Yetunde Adekunle as the new Bursar of the University.

“Her tenure is for five (5) years with effect from Thursday, November 3, 2022.

“Mrs. Adekunle until her appointment was Deputy Bursar, Treasury. She joined the services of the University in 2005.

“She holds Bachelor and Master’s degrees in Accounting from the University of Lagos. She is a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN).

“Mrs. Oluwafunmilayo Yetunde Adekunle takes over from the current Bursar, Dr. Lekan Lawal, whose tenure ends on Wednesday, November 2, 2022.”

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