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Home Law FG Bows To ASUU’s Terms For Ending Strike

FG Bows To ASUU’s Terms For Ending Strike

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After almost 10 hours of stormy deliberations, striking lecturers under the auspices of Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) finally forced the Federal Government to bow to fresh terms and conditions to end its indefinite strike.

The truce which was brokered on Friday followed a thorough reappraisal of ASUU’s demands which necessitated the strike action in the first instance and the Federal Government seems a bit comfortable that it would be able to deliver before October 2017 elapsed.

One of the major concession from government was to honour the 2009 agreement government had with ASUU, by releasing the sum of N220 billion not later than October 2017.

The fund when released is expected to go into the revitalization of federal universities across the country.

The meeting started at 2:30pm on Thursday, and ended about 2:15am Friday morning, with all the participants looking worn-out.

It had in attendance Ministers of Education, Adamu Adamu and Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, Presidential Adviser on National Assembly Matters Senator Ita Enang, newly appointed Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Labour, Bolaji Adebiyi including ASUU’s executive, led by its President, Biodun Ogunyemi.

Shortly after they emerged from the meeting, Ogunyemi told newsmen that the new terms of agreement between the union and FG would be ratified at the national executive committee meeting expected to hold next week before ASUU will revert to government on its next line of action.

The ASUU president admitted that the proposals made by government were concrete for the time being.

“We have had useful deliberations and we had some concrete proposals that we will take back to our members as part of our consultations. And like the Honourable Minister of Labour has said, we plan to come back here to take decisions as advised by our members,” Ogunyemi said.

Ngige said beyond the pledge to release the sum of N220 billion not later than October 2017 to fund the revitalisation of federal universities across the country, government had began paying the earned allowances of ASUU members.

He noted that the present administration had been holding meetings with ASUU on how to address the non-release of funds which ought to have commenced in 2014 under the immediate past administration.

According to the Minister of Labour, the closed-door meeting also discussed how to set up the National Universities Pension Commission.

“We also discussed the issue of university staff schools and treasury single account with a view to finding how the system could accommodate funds for research grants that need to be independent from the government.

“We also discussed the issue of how the Federal Government could be involved in the running of state universities,” Ngige said.

He said a seven-man committee would be set up to work towards implementation of the proposals that had been endorsed by all parties.

According to him, most of ASUU’s demands that were discussed during the meeting emanated from the 2009 agreement and the 2013 Memorandum of Understanding the university teachers had with the Federal Government, saying it was important that solutions were found to these pending problems.

Ngige in an extensive brief said, “We have concluded negotiations, the government and the leadership of Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU.

“The ASUU negotiating team and the government discusses salient issues and most of those issues are well-known to the media but for the purposes of clarity, I can go around the grounds again.

“There’s one funding for revitalisation of public universities and the issue of Earn Academic Allowances, (EAA), the issue of staff schools that there was a court judgment, the issue of National Universities Pension Commission, and the issue of salary shortfalls for lecturers and staff of universities.

“There is the issue of TSA exemption and the problems in the state universities. All are the issues that ASUU felt that government should address.

“Most of these issues stemmed from the 2009 agreement that government had with ASUU and also from the 2013 Memorandum of Understanding that the government had with ASUU.” the minister said.

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