ASUU Members and Federal Government at a Recent Meeting in Abuja, FCT

ASUU Strike: Union to consider Nigerian Government’s offer as members may resume work soon

*The Academic Staff Union of Universities has said the academic body will report the Federal Government’s proposals to members before making a decision on the latest offer

Alexander Davis | ConsumerConnect

Sequel to the latest round of discussions between the Federal Government and the academic body, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has stated that it will report the Federal Government’s the proposal to members before taking a stand.

ConsumerConnect gathered after about eight hours of an intensive closed-door meeting Tuesday, March 1, 2022, both the Nigerian government team and the leadership of the striking ASUU emerged around 11 p.m. with an indication of possible resolution of the areas of conflict between the two parties.

Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, President of the academic union, however, declined elaborate comment on their conclusions, but said his team would report to the members on the government’s proposal and later revert to the government.

Senator (Dr.) Chris Ngige, Honurable Minister for Labour and Employment, said both parties agreed on a lot of things, and that ASUU was expected to “talk to its members, show them the proposal that has been offered by the government so that they can call off the strike.”

Report indicates that Earned Academic Allowances (EAA) and revitalisation fund for universities made the two items on the agenda for Tuesday’s meeting.

The Minister reportedly said although most of ASUU’s demands are being dealt with, the remaining areas are also being addressed.

Sen. Ngige, however, told reporters “like I told you the last time, a lot of the items have been dealt with extensively and some of them are work in progress.”

According to him, one of the areas remaining is the renegotiation of the 2009 FGN-ASUU agreement.

He also noted that the Federal Ministry of Education had set up a Committee to look into the submitted report of Munzali Jibril-led renegotiation committee.

It is important that allowances requested by ASUU are in tandem with the structure available at the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission, said he.

Ngige further noted that in six weeks, the Committee at the Ministry of Education “will round off everything and send all”.

“So, today, the Ministry of Education has set up internal committee in their ministry to look at the product of Prof. Munzali’s committee’s work.

“Again, prof Munzali’s committee has been defunct because a lot of people including Munzali are no longer Pro-Chancellors.

“A new team has been set up because they needed to have a second look at that document, and make sure, with ASUU’s contribution, that some of the allowances are not against the NSIWC’s fixed salaries and allowances.

“If you do that and propose it to the government, it will not be accepted. So, it is important that they work well. So that whatever they present can be approved by the federal executive council,” the Minister said.

He added that within six weeks, the Committee set up at the Education Ministry will wrap up everything and send all.

“So, that is the only new area,” Ngige stated.

As regards UTAS, the Minister for Labour and Employment disclosed that a joint committee of ASUU members, officials of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) and independent IT experts have been given up till March 8, 2022, to come up with the report of a joint review of the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS).

He stated: “They will also go there with the technical team and do a joint test on integrity and vulnerability test of UTAS. And we were hopeful that when they commence the test, they will do it and give us a joint report.

“We will also get neutral IT expert to join them. So that if they have areas of disagreement, they can resolve. The timeline is for them to conclude by March 8. We expect that we shall also work on it for six weeks.”

According to him, there is no problem with the EAA, saying if there are those that are unpaid the Minister of Finance “will look for the money to pay”.

Besides, he stressed that his ministry has reached out to the National Universities Commission (NUC) to set up a committee to come up with the computation of allowances for universities and forward it to the Finance Minister in the next three weeks.

“N92 billion paid to universities”

In the meantime, Sen. Ngige has said the Nigerian Government so far had paid over N92 billion as earned allowances and revitalisation fund to Federal Government-owned universities across the West African country.

The Minister, who disclosed this development at the State House Tuesday, said that the development was part of the government’s commitment to the implementation of the 2020 December agreement that was reached with the union.

Ngige noted: “Why I said that the 2020 December agreement we had with ASUU is on course in terms of implementation is that in the agreement, there is a line that says the federal government should pay ASUU and other unions N40 billion for EAA and that has been paid.

“N30 billion was also budgeted or was to be paid for revitalisation and that also was paid late last year. N22.127 billion was agreed also in that December agreement, to be paid from supplementary budget as EAA for 2021, which was also paid last year; it was put in the supplementary budget which was passed.

“So, the government has done that.”

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