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    Tuesday, November 12, 2013

    ASUU Chapters Back End To Strike

    The National Executive Committee of Academic Staff Union of Nigeria Universities, ASUU, may call off its over four months old strike at its meeting on Wednesday night.
    We investigations this morning indicated that ASUU may have no need to continue with the strike as its various chapters voted in favour of its suspension at their congresses yesterday based on the new offer made to the University teachers last Monday by the Federal Government team led by President Goodluck Jonathan.

    We gathered that at least 20 ASUU chapters, including  Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria; Uthman Dan Fodio University, Sokoto; Federal University of Technology Minna; and that of University of Lagos, Ladoke Akintola University,  Lagos State University and Delta State University have agreed to support the suspension of the strike.
    The other chapters of ASUU that have voted to support the suspension of the strike, according to information available to us include that of University of Calabar, Federal University of Technology Akure, and Ekiti State University.

    Investigations revelaed that only University of Benin and University of Jos have not backed the suspension of the strike as at the time of writing this story.  It was gathered that though some members of the ASUU at the chapters that have voted for an end to the strike were skeptical about the offer of government, they are however concerned about the increasing tide of public opinion against the strike.
    Also, some members of the union are giving conditions that must be fulfilled by governmet before the strike is called off. Executives of ASUU at various chapters,  it was gathered, promised to transmit the conditions to the National Executive for consideration as they meet on Wednesday in Kano to consider whether to call off the strike.

    ASUU had called a national strike in July over the failure of government to implement the October 2009 agreement signed between a Federal Government team led by the then Pro-Chancellor, University of Ibadan, Dr. Gamaliel O. Onosode, and the university teachers’ team led by the then President of ASUU, Dr. Abdullahi Sule-Kano.
    The greement sets out in detailed manner issues such as the breakdown of lecturers’ salary structure, staff loans, pension, overtime, and moderation of examinations. It was agreed that entitled academic staff shall be paid earned allowances at the rates undertaking in the listed assignments.

    The negotiating parties also agreed that Decree 11 of 1993 and the Pension Reform Act (2004) should be amended to increase the retirement age of academics from 65 years to 70 years for those in the Professorial cadre and to also remove certain ambiguities from the provisions that allowed Professors to retire with full benefits, by reformulating these provisions (Pension Reform Act, 2004).
    The parties agreed that Agreement will come into force on 1 July, 2009 while the effective date for the 70 years retirement age for academics in the Professorial cadre was notionally fixed at 1 January, 2009.
    On funding of the universities, both parties agreed that each federal university should get at least N1.5 trillion between 2009 and 2011.

    Federal Government had always insisted that it had implemented most of the provisions of the agreement, a claim ASUU had always faulted. The two most contentious aspect of the agreement which led to the ongoing strike relates to the N1.5 trillion agreed funding for the university and the payment of the earned allowances.
    ASUU is demanding the transfer of N1.5 trillion funding which government should have paid since 2009 to federal universities and another N92 billion as earned allowances of its members as contained in the 2009 agreement. Government has insisted that it has no funds to meet the monetary demands in view of the current financial challenges it is confronting.

    At last week’s meeting the federal government made a new offer of a yearly payment of N220 billion over the next five years in furtherance of the contentious implementation of the 2009 Agreement during the over 13 hours meeting. This will amount to the N1.1trillion at the end of five years.
    It was also agreed that the funds will be domiciled at the Central Bank of Nigeria to be released on a quarterly basis to the higher institutions as a further assurance that government will keep to its side of the bargain. However, government will only release N100 billion it had earlier offered to ASUU for 2013.

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