At last, ASUU suspends three-month-old strike

ASUU calls off three-month-old strike

Olufemi Atoyebi, Abuja

The Academic Staff Union of Universities on Thursday called off the three-month-old strike it embarked upon over revitalisation of universities, academic earned allowances, issuance of Universities Pension Management Company and other issues.

The strike was called off after a two-hour meeting with the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige.

Ngige said after the meeting that eight areas of disagreement were discussed and agreed on by the two parties, while expressing gratitude to ASUU leadership for their understanding.

He said, “We have dealt with all the eight contending issues and some of them have been implemented. ASUU has a licence for the Universities Pension Management Company since January 28, 2019.

“On the issue of salary shortfall in the universities, the Federal Government has released N16bn, out of which N15.384bn is for universities, while the rest is for other tertiary institutions. The Vice Chancellors have acknowledged the receipt of the funds.

“We also have a committee to liaise with state government-owned universities, ASUU and the Federal Government through the Ministry of Education. That committee was inaugurated two weeks ago.

“The visitation panel has been constituted and will commence work on March 2, 2019. On the issue of Earned allowances, the Federal Government has released N20bn for the payment to all categories of university staff. For the Earned academic allowance, the Federal Government has released N25bn and for the revitalization fund, a total of N25bn will be released in the period of April and May 2019 and will resume full implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding entered into in 2019.”

ASUU president, Prof Biodun Ogunyemi, said the decision of ASUU to call off the strike would take effect from Friday, February 8, 2019.

Credit: Punch

Strike: ASUU denies receiving N163bn from FG

Strike: ASUU denies receiving N163bn from FG

Olufemi Atoyebi and Ademola Babalola

The Academic Staff Union of Universities on Sunday denied receiving the sum of N163bn from government in a bid to suspend the three-month-old strike.

In a statement titled, ‘Re: N163bn released to ASUU: Putting the record straight,’ signed by the Ibadan zonal coordinator of the union, Dr Ade Adejumo, the union, said, “Once again, the attention of our union has been drawn to another piece of misinformation which gives the impression that ASUU collects money from government.

“For umpteenth time, let it be known that our union is a patriotic organisation whose activities are driven by principled conviction that the resources of the country can better be managed for the ultimate benefit of the Nigerian society, especially the education sector which is our immediate constituency.

“The government and all civilised individuals are aware of how the university is managed, so also the resources available to it. The government knows that it is the council and the university administration that receive and spend all the money coming into the university. ASUU doesn’t receive money from government and doesn’t spend it.”

It added, “Even money meant for our salaries and other allowances come directly to the university administration which prepares the budget and manages it. ASUU members collect only their salaries as paid by the university. Contracts and all the capital projects are awarded by the councils that are appointed by the government, not ASUU.

“It is in the context of the above that our union calls on the vice-chancellors and council chairmen to stop behaving like vultures that wait silently by the sidelines, waiting for the game to fall only to descend on the carcass.

“They should join forces with ASUU in its struggles to attract requisite funding into our public universities rather than working at cross purposes with us. Part of the least expected from them is to come out openly to put the record straight each time the government comes out with the deliberate falsehood that money has been released to ASUU.”

The President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, Prof Biodun Ogunyemi, had earlier on Saturday, similarly said that the Federal Government claim that it released N163bn to settle part of the demands of the union was misleading.

Ogunyemi, who spoke on the sidelines of the Nigeria Labour Congress meeting in Abuja, said, “The minister referred to the release of N163bn but that was not released by the Ministry of Education to revitalisation. That fund he alluded to was from TETFUND. TETFUND was there when we carried out the NEEDS Assessment in 2012. What we called Revitalisation Fund today is a product of that exercise of 2012. We have always drawn a line of distinction between what TETFUND gives and what we should access from the NEEDS Assessment Fund.

“They are different terms of intervention that should not be equated to one. TETFUND as an intervention agent is ASUU’s brainchild which became a reality. The funds from NEEDS Assessment is to fix specific items of deficiency in our system. Both Federal and state governments have now relinquished their responsibilities to TETFUND, they now hold on to it.”

Source: The Punch

Ending Ongoing ASUU Strike

Ending Ongoing ASUU Strike

By DUSTAN AGHEDO

As the ongoing Academic Staff Union of Universities(ASUU) strike enters its 74th day, DUSTAN AGHEDO, writes on a way to end the lingering crisis between the lecturers and the federal government.

Over the years, Nigerian higher institutions have suffered incessant strikes initiated by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).

In the last two decades, LEADERSHIP Friday learnt that ASUU has gone on strike at least 15 times, in a bid to ensure that government listens and attends to its demands.

During the strikes, students are usually sent back home, thereby, wasting time which translates in a prolonged stay in the institution.

While the union has continuously gone on strike to seek government’s attention, federal government, on most occasions, doesn’t even take ASUU strike seriously, rarely regarding ASUU as a threat.

But could things be done differently, taking into consideration the fact that students are the ones at the receiving end of the strike actions?

It would be recalled that the ongoing ASUU strike has entered its 74th day and only time will tell when the strike would be called off.

The demand of ASUU has been the implementation of the 2009 FGN/ASUU agreements, Memorandum of Understanding (MoU; 2012 and 2013), Memorandum of Action (MoA, 2017), among others.

However, if ASUU accepts the current federal government’s proposal of N15.4 billion to public universities for the sake of the students, it would mean postponing the evil day as the issue will resurface in future and the same union will go on strike again.

According to NOI Polls (NOIPolls) for 2019, most Nigerians want the government to mainly focus 49 per cent of its attention on Education, while highlighting poor funding as one of the major reasons for the deterioration and challenges in the educational sector, especially, tertiary education, which has led to frequent strikes by academic and non-academic staff since the early 1990s.

The report also shows that the federal government’s allocation to education in the last 10 years has been inadequate as only a total of N3.90 trillion or an average of 7.07 per cent has so far been allocated to the sector out of a total budget of N55.19 trillion.

No Lecture No Vote Campaign

While the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) and Joint Campus Committee (JCC) have thrown their weight behind ASUU, perhaps some would feel it is now time for students and their leaders to take a bolder leap of faith to decry, demand and make a stance on their rights.

As some students clamour for ASUU to call off its strike, others are of the opinion that the strike shouldn’t be called off as it could still come back to hunt them in the future.

According to LEADERSHIP Friday’s findings, students from at least six tertiary institutions from both federal and state comprising of; University of Lagos (UNILAG), Lagos State University (LASU), Ekiti State University (EKSU), Imo State University (IMSU), Yaba College of Technology (YABATECH), amongst others, have opted to support a ‘No Lecture No Vote Campaign’ to demonstrate their displeasure about the present happenings.

Stakeholders’ Reactions

Speaking to LEADERSHIP Friday, the chairman, NANS JCC, Lagos axis, Abdulqowiyy Busari, said if the government refuses to agree to ASUU’s full demands, then, the students will do what they should have done before now.

‘There are plans on ground to stage a very gigantic protest blocking major FG roads in Lagos State,’ he stressed.

Reacting, Education Rights Campaign (ERC) Coordinator, Lagos State and a student of LASU, Nurudeen Yusuf, said the federal government needs to meet the demands of ASUU in full such that ASUU will not have any reason for going on strike nor students returning to poor teaching and learning conditions.

According to him, “The No Lecture, No Vote’, simply means, if there is no commencement of academic activities in Nigeria Universities, then no February 2019 general election.

“If we want to get it right, we should get it right once and for all. The federal government needs to meet the demands of ASUU in full such that ASUU will not have a reason for going on strike at least for a period of about 10 years. Yes, I want to resume, Nigerian students want to resume but not into the same old condition of campuses, where we have overcrowded lecture halls, inadequate teaching and learning facilities, poor hostels and electricity, limited water supply, hike in fees, among others.”

He added that, ‘We must resume with a commitment and hope that all of these challenges will be brought to barest minimum and the crisis resolved totally.’

Also speaking to LEADERSHIP, a final year student of EKSU, Stephen Oladele, said: “This campaign is not only agitating that we return back to our classrooms, it is also a campaign that seeks to put an end to the foundational problem in our educational system where the federal government pay lip service to education. If we continue to patch problems without strong will to end this unending unfavourable industrial action by lecturers, our future will face the brunt.”

Credit: Leadership

Strike: We Have No Agreement Yet With FG ― ASUU

BREAKING: Strike: We Have No Agreement Yet With FG ― ASUU

By Tunbosun Ogundare – Lagos

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) on Wednesday debunked the latest claim by the Federal Government to have reached an agreement with the union over their lingering differences, saying the claim is not true.

The President of ASUU, Prof Biodun Ogunyemi, refuted the claim in an exclusive conversation with TribuneOnline.

According to him, the negotiations between both parties in still inconclusive as the team that represented ASUU at the meeting has no final say concerning the decision making as a body on matters of such magnitude.

He explained that what they had on ground now is a proposal from the government which ASUU insisted must be written down showing her plans of action unlike all along since the commencement of the two-month-old strike that government always made verbal proposals.

It will be recalled that their last meeting happened to be the seventh time they held meetings over their differences without tangible outcome from the previous meetings.

Speaking further, Prof Ogunyemi said, “it was just yesterday (Tuesday) that government sent the proposal to us without waiting for feedback before going to the public that we have reached an agreement. ASUU does not operate in that manner.”

“The ASUU team that met the Federal Government,” he noted, “would have to consult our principal over the proposal which we are already doing.”

He disclosed that the said principal represents various organs of ASUU who will in turn pass any resolution at that level on to the National Executive Committee and then, final decision can be made.

“So, ASUU cannot make pronouncement on a mere proposal. Until our principal agrees, there is no agreement. And that is what we have always emphasised to government that we are going to consult our members and if after consultation, our members think the proposal is good enough, we will get back to government and tell them that now, we have taken a decision which becomes an agreement. But so far on government proposal, we have not taken a decision. And our strike is still ongoing,” he said.

But when asked if there were grey areas in the proposal that would need consultation, he said ASUU might not bother about further consultation on issues that are very clear.

Giving examples, he said: “If you say you are going to set up a committee and you have set up that committee, that one is clear. And if you say you are going to pay certain money for certain purpose and you have paid, that will not also cause further argument. But where we said you should release certain amount of money in five tranches within certain period of time, and you are saying well, you have paid N20 billion, or you have paid N2 billion or N15. 4 billion, it means you haven’t started.

“So, that is the level we are now. And we don’t have a final say on any proposal that is controversial. But for areas that are not controversial as I had mentioned, we will only need to confirm payment. If paid, fine. It then means that one is settled and we now move to another one that is yet to be settled. And the one that is not settled we will need to take feedback to our members and that is the position we are at the moment.”

Credit: Tribune

Varsities may resume next week as FG,ASUU reach agreement

FG, ASUU Reach Agreement; Varsities May Resume Next Week

By Clement Idoko –

THE Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) may call off the lingering strike this weekend to allow public universities to resume academic activities next week

Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, gave this indication on Monday after long hours of conciliatory meeting with the representatives of ASUU led by its President, Professor Biodun Ogunyemi.

He said the deliberations were fruitful and the government has presented the Union with offers for them to get back to their members and return on Thursday for an agreement to be signed by both parties.

He disclosed that over N15.4 billion has been paid to the lecturers across tertiary institutions in the country to offset arrears of salary shortfalls, while President Muhammadu Buhari has approved N20 billion to pay the outstanding arrears of Earned Allowance of the lecturers.

He said: “On salary shortfall in tertiary institutions, the Ministry of Finance and the office of the accountant general on having provided us with evidence that on the 31st of December, 2018, before the expiration of the current 2018 budget that they have remitted N15,389,940,335.71.

“This is to accommodate payment of shortfalls in all the tertiary institutions that have been verified by the Presidential Initiative.

“On the issue of earned allowances in the university system, they also showed evidence that the president has approved the sum of N20bn to be used to offset outstanding arrears of 2009, 2012 audit-verified allowances in the university system. This money is being worked out and will be released to ASUU as soon as the processes are completed.

“We also discussed the issue of the revitalization of public institutions which the then administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan agreed to inject about N220 billion into the university system every year for about six years,” Ngige said.

He added that government was committed to the agreement and that a token has been approved and would be released to ASUU.

He said the parties were working towards ensuring that the strike is called off this weekend to allow students to resume next week to schools.

The conciliatory meeting between the Federal Government and ASUU initially scheduled for 3:30 pm could not start until about 5:06 pm.

Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Ngige, at whose instance the meeting was held, in his opening remarks, said the meeting would be short since a lot of work had been done since the adjournment of the meeting December last year.

President of ASUU, Professor Abiodun Ogunyemi, said the delegation would take to offer to their members and report back to the government.

However, when journalists were excused from the meeting for the technical session, President of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) , Comrade Danielson Akpan, insisted that members of NANS and journalists be allowed to be part of the deliberations.

He said this would avoid the problem of discordance voices that usually come out of such meetings, he noted often leave the public without real facts of the deliberations.

He added that what journalists were always informed as of the outcome of such meetings by the government representatives, most often differ from what the Union would tell while briefing newsmen.

Akpan said the over 80 million students, he was representing were the ones that bear the brunt of the incessant strike and must be allowed to have the inkling of the key issues in dispute.

Ngige, in his response, however, appealed to the NANS President to repose confidence on members of the conciliatory meeting, assuring him that he would be happy with the outcome of the meeting.

He said the Federal Government was interested in revitalising university education to the extent on graduation the students would be happy with the quality of certificate obtained, he added would be globally competitive.

Since November 4, 2018, Public Universities across the country have been under lock and key as ASUU leaders insisted the ongoing strike would not be called off until key demands of the Union are met.

Credit: Nigerian Tribune

Strike: FG to continue negotiation with ASUU Monday

Strike: FG to continue negotiation with ASUU on Monday

by Agency Reporter

The Federal Government says it will continue negotiation process with the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) on Monday to resolve ongoing industrial action embarked by the striking lecturers.

Senator Chris Ngige, Minister of Labour and Employment said this in a statement signed on Saturday in Abuja by Mr Samuel Olowookere, Director of Press, in the ministry.

According to the statement, the meeting is in furtherance to efforts at resolving the on-going industrial action embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).

“The Minister of Labour and Employment Sen. Chris Ngige is scheduled to hold a meeting with the Executive of ASUU.

“The conciliatory meeting is scheduled to hold on Jan. 7, at Minister’s Conference Room by 30:30 pm prompt.

ASUU commenced an indefinite strike on Nov. 5, 2018 over certain demands based on agreement reached with government in 2009.

One of the demands is the replacement of Dr Wale Babalakin as the chairman for the government renegotiating team of the 2009 ASUU/Federal Government Agreement.

Other issues are non-payment of earned allowance, funding of revitalisation of the Nigerian universities, implementation of needs assessment report, poor funding of state universities, among others.

As part of efforts by the Federal Government to end the strike, it commenced meetings with ASUU leadership on Nov. 15, 2018 followed by the last one on Dec. 17, 2018 before Christmas break.

NAN

FG, ASUU reach partial consensus

FG, ASUU reach partial consensus

The Federal Government and the striking Academic Staff Union of Universities have reached a partial agreement, Dr Chris Ngige, the Minister of Labour and Employment, announced on Monday.

Ngige made the announcement at a reconciliation meeting in Abuja aimed at finding ways of resolving the strike which commenced on November 5.

He said, “we have finished our deliberation for today. I am happy to report that we touched some areas of understanding in implementation from the Memorandum of Action which we agreed to in 2017.

“Some of these areas we have substantial compliance and some other areas have not been fully dealt with.

“Like the issue of shortfall in salaries of some Federal Universities’ workers and lecturers, ASUU has given a list to the Accountant-General’s Office and we have agreed that by Wednesday that list should be cross-checked by the Presidential Initiative on Continuous Auditing.

“So, the Accountant-General’s Office is to get back to us by Wednesday.

“We also have the issue of earned allowances, revitalisation, these are issues of 2009 agreement and partial implementation and we have agreed on the modus operandi to look into the fund situation, this is due to low revenue on the part of government. ”

He noted that the meeting had identified one area to look for the fund for the revalidation and that the appropriate government organ would be contacted on the issue.

Ngige said that government was sure to have good information for the striking lecturers.

He said the same situation applied to other allowances, adding: “we have agreed on what we are going to do to make sure that the outstanding amount is handled in a way that all parties will be properly accommodated.

“We also discussed the issue of state universities and agreed also that even if education is on the concurrent list, the universities should be properly funded and staffed so that we do not produce half-baked students from those universities.

“In realisation of this the Ministry of Education will set up a committee, that would engage the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, and the Minister of Education has taken steps in that direction to formalise the interaction.

The minister said he hoped with the agreement reached that the union would call off the strike in order for students to go back to school.

He said the next meeting would be at 4pm on December 17.

On his part, Prof. Abiodun Ogunyemi, ASUU National President, said they had a useful discussion.

“Our own understanding is that we heard promises made on the part of government, we shall await the report on all the issues, which they have made the promises.

“Only after that, we can get back to our members to take a decision,” he said.

(NAN)

ASUU STRIKE: FG withdraws ‘no work no pay’ threat as negotiation continues Tuesday

ASUU STRIKE: FG withdraws ‘no work no pay’ threat

‘No work no pay’ policy not applicable to ASUU — Falana

By Dayo Adesulu & Johnbosco Agbakwuru

ABUJA—THE Federal Government has withdrawn the recent threat to activate the ‘no work no pay policy’ against striking university teachers.

No work, no pay policy: Labour threatens to report FG to ILO

This was disclosed by the National President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, in an exclusive chat with Vanguard yesterday.

Ogunyemi also said that the negotiation meeting between ASUU and the Federal Government would continue tomorrow, stressing that what the union was doing was to rescue the education sector from imminent collapse and to ensure that the children of the poor get access to quality and affordable education.

The ASUU boss also said that last Friday’s meeting between the two parties did not yield much results.

He said: “Well, we have confirmed that they have withdrawn that threat (no work no pay). So it appears the threat is not there for now. But even if the threat is there, we are prepared for that because for our members, no sacrifice is too much to salvage Nigeria’s education.

“Shortly before our action while the NLC (Nigeria Labour Congress) hullabaloo was going on with federal government, they went to the Federal Executive Council that they were activating that rule.”

Meanwile, human rights lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana, SAN said yesterday: ”Although the Federal Government referred to “extant rules” to justify the ‘no work, no pay’ policy the directive is anchored on section 43 (1) of the Trade Disputes Act which provides that “any worker who takes part in a strike shall not be entitled to any wages or other remuneration for the period of the strike…”. In resorting to the desperate measure the Federal Government was not properly advised. Otherwise, it would have realized that even under the defunct military junta the application of ‘no work no pay’ rule, threat to eject lectures living in official quarters, promulgation of a decree which made strike in schools a treasonable offence and the proscription of ASUU did not collapse any of the strikes called by ASUU.

”It is submitted that the latest strike embarked upon by ASUU has complied with the provisions of section 31 (6) of the Trade

Disputes (Amendment) Act, 2005. Since the law does not punish acts which are lawful in any democratic society section 43(1) of the Trade Disputes Act cannot be invoked to justify the seizure of the salaries and allowances of members of the ASUU who have decided to participate in an industrial action that is legal in every material particular. Under the current labour law regime only those who take part in illegal strikes are liable to be prosecuted and forfeit their salaries and allowances.

Credit: Vanguard