Published January 27, 2019
ASUU President, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi
By John Alechenu and Olufemi Atoyebi
The President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities , Prof Biodun Ogunyemi, has said the leadership of the union is still consulting its members on the Federal Government’ s offer.
He said the outcome of the consultations would determine what ASUU would be presenting to the government ’s team during their next meeting within the week .
Ogunyemi said this in a text message he sent to SUNDAY PUNCH on Saturday .
The union leader was responding to enquiries about ongoing negotiations with the Federal Government and the possibility of ASUU calling off its three – month – old strike .
He said , “ All I can say for now is that we’ re still consulting on the latest offer by the government . We hope to get back to them in the coming week .”
He , however , said the government had yet to show enough commitment to warrant calling off the strike .
Ogunyemi also said the leadership of ASUU had done enough to lower its demands from the Federal Government .
He was however hopeful that a resolution would be reached when ASUU and the FG would be meeting during the week .
According to him , while progress had been made in two areas of discussion , the government had yet to convince ASUU that it is ready to deal with the issue of the infrastructure revitalisation fund of N220 bn .
He said , “ Progress has been made on the issue of earned allowance but we need to meet our members on how the FG wants to pay the balance. We have agreed on the FG ’ s proposal to pay in instalments but we have to also agree on how much will be paid per instalment .
“ Revitalisation is a major issue in the discussion . We have given our proposal that the remaining N200 bn should be paid four times at N50 bn per tranche. That is what we are yet to agree on as it concerns revitalisation . We hope the government will have a rethink on this before the middle of next week so that we can meet again and sort out the grey areas . I cannot determine when the strike will end . If government comes up with a proposal that is agreeable to our people, it will be easier for us to tell our people that government has tried its best .”
Recall that ASUU is insisting that until the Federal Government accedes to its demands as highlighted in the 2009 agreement, university lecturers will not return to the classroom .
The union is also demanding that government should resume negotiation on the 2009 agreement regarding the decay in public universities.
It decried the decay in infrastructure and equipment in public universities, and is asking for N1 .1 tn to fund the university system .
Besides the 2009 agreement , ASUU is accusing the government of disregard for the agreements it reached with the union in 2013 and 2017 , as well as the failure to pay the arrears of the shortfall in salaries, even after the presidential initiative on continuous audit verification .
It also accused the Federal Government of failing to release the operational licence of the Nigeria University Pension Management Company to serve as a pension fund administrator for universities’ staff , as contained in the 2017 Memorandum of Action .