ASUU strike update: FG reveals it has now paid N200 billion for striking Union

President Jonathan meeting with the ASUU leadership (Photo: PM News)

by Rachel Ogbu

President Jonathan meeting with the ASUU leadership (Photo: PM News)

President Jonathan meeting with the ASUU leadership (Photo: PM News)

Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, Doyin Okupe has confirmed that the N200 billion demanded by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has been paid.

The money was paid into an account with the CBN and is meant for renewal of infrastructure facilities in public universities in the country, Okupe explained.

The move which was announced earlier today was just in time before the expiration of the December 4 ultimatum given by the Federal Government to members ASUU who were told to resume classes or be sacked.

Okupe paid the payments public on the Channels Television programme ‘Sunrise Daily’ adding that everything that needed to be done has been done and whether the strike would be called off or not now lies in the hands of the leadership of ASUU.

PM News reports:

He said that most of the demands of the Academic Staff Union of Nigerian Universities, ASUU, have been agreed upon at the 13-hour meeting they had with the President in October.

“At the end of that meeting, the Government proposed that everything that has been agreed should be put in a memorandum of agreement and that the two parties should sign, but the leadership of ASUU declined and said instead of that, they would rather have a letter of comfort expressing everything that has been resolved therein, and that will suffice for them.”

According to him, the Government agreed to their request and issued the said letter based on the agreement that the strike would be called off within 7 days. However, this did not happen “in spite of the fact that the ASUU leadership presented the letter of comfort to its chapters nationwide and a clear majority of them endorsed the resolutions reached and actually were more inclined towards calling off the strike.”

Dr. Okupe stressed that the attitude of the ASUU leadership showed that the seed of discord and evidence of bad faith already existed. “It is unfortunate that somebody died but notwithstanding, that cannot be a justification for delaying the implementation of an agreement for 21 or more days.

Reading from the ‘Letter of Comfort’ issued by the Federal Government in agreement with the leadership of ASUU, the government agreed that Nigerian universities must be revitalized for effective service delivery, all the provisions in the agreement and MoU for the revitalization shall be fully implemented as captured in the 2012 Needs Assessment and the Federal Government shall mobilize resource towards this goal.

“Based on this, it was also agreed that a sum of N1.3 trillion shall be made available to ASUU over the next six years starting from December 2013 with (the sum of) N200 billion. The FGN therefore request that the ASUU shall within 7 days call off its 4 month strike.”

Contrary to the Federal Government’s expectation that ASUU would call off the strike, ASUU in another document said that they “could not call off the strike because of certain uncertainties or gaps that are evident in the government’s report.”

Okupe asked fiercely, “what are these uncertainties? He accused ASUU of turning around to again state four new conditions for the strike to be called off. They demanded that the agreed N200 billion should be deposited in an account at the Central Bank within 2 weeks, while the negotiation of the 2009 agreement should be included in the final document.

The ASUU, according to Okupe also demanded that a non-victimization clause should be included as well as a new MoU signed by the Attorney-General.

Dismissing their requests, he said a demand for a memorandum is a waste of people’s time because this is ideally what should follow any agreement made between two parties in the first place, and that by International Labour Laws which Nigeria is guided by, no one is expected to be victimized for going on strike.

He also said that ASUU, asking that the MoU with Federal Government should be signed by the Attorney-General “does not make sense” because anyone of high standing in government can sign for it. He added that an account has already been opened for the N200 billion they are requesting for in the Central Bank.

Okupe added that the government has shown commitment by meeting with the leadership of ASUU, and agreeing to its demands, considering that previous governments did not give them such an opportunity to sit down and discuss. He called on ASUU to do the right thing for the benefit of the nation.

“The Government cannot be seen to be contesting with any sector of the economy or the country. This President is interested in moving Nigeria forward through a very well-articulated transformation agenda.”

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  • na lie. government should not be believed until there is concrete paper evidence

    cas igbokwe December 4, 2013 11:04 am
  • Well done ASUU. We have already won this battle. Government is trying to save face. But they must sign that agreement before we call off the strike. Enough is enough.

    Dr Obinna Ekwunife, Unizik December 4, 2013 11:29 am
  • If I am Mr President I will publicly sacrifice my salaries and security votes (and plead that all well meaning Nigerians both politicians and business men join me willingly )for one year…collect it as a loan from the nation’s treasury and pay ASUU within 24hrs and ensure within 48hrs schools resume…calm all ASUU nerves! then go into serious mopping and monitoring of lecturers activity and sack immediately any lectures (from professor to lecturer1) who comes to work any time later than 8am; send EFCC to dig out their old cupboard for corrupt practices; employ intelligent supervisors to monitor the quality of their lectures; their relationship with students; their qualifications…any little mistake…no panel…but straight sack followed by immediate advert for replacement. I mean people don’t know how to create eternal wave ( make impact forever)… If I was Mr President…I will not wait for 2015 to take the driving seat in Nigeria…for God sake I am the president COFRN of Nigeria… In leadership never take the sympathetic seat…No body is ready to sympathize with you sir…pilots Drive they don’t drawn…Seat up sir …I LUV YOU ( feedback if you care [email protected])

    sunny December 4, 2013 11:32 am
    • Na your own job creation strategy be that. ride on. so easy. jo

      mgowa December 4, 2013 3:32 pm
  • If the so called ASUU’s new demand is implied to have been taken care of in the 13hrs marathon meeting with GEJ,what then prevents the FG from payiing them their 5months salary and signing the agreement as requested by ASUU.The truth is that the children of the politicians are all schooling outside Nigeria and that’s why they can afford to play politics with the future of the Nigerian stds otherwise they shld have solved the problems b/4 now. Iam a student in Ghana and many of them are here in Ghana living very flamboyant life.

    Benjamin Agu December 4, 2013 12:17 pm
  • these politicians are not trustworthy. If they have paid money they should document it and communicate formally to ASUU, not by mere talk. After they will deny that they did not say so, when the money will not be found in the so called CBN account.

    mgowa December 4, 2013 3:35 pm
  • if truly govt has done this, then it is commendable but this can easily
    be communicated to ASUU formally inform of writing as a reply to its
    letter to FG. Then FG should just call a brief meeting between itself
    and ASUU to sign the new MoU. I think within1 or 2 days, I beleive ASUU
    will call-off the strike. This is our country, we do not have any other
    place than this. Let’s do all we can do to make it better. God bless

    Michael December 4, 2013 10:59 pm
  • What in heavens name is wrong with assu, are they crazy or what, what u are doing is just heartless, don’t go around deceiving urself dat u are doing it for the benefit of students becos u are doing it for Ur own selfish interests, money has been givengiven to u but yet, u still require Ur 4 month salaries, without considering the state of mind of the students, or their condition…look the only reason u are doing dis is becos Ur own children don’t attend any of thus universities…and they are probably in private universities, or out of the country….have u no heart, no conscience…this is very wicked…why can’t u call off the strike and still go on with Ur salary demands so students can write exams…I for one am very tired of this stupid and senseless strike…I wanna return to school…my family is giving me hell…so pls…consider us and call off this strike

    taram okoto December 5, 2013 12:41 pm
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