ASUU strike extends over 2 months as FG, lecturers refuse to shift ground

by Tutu Akinlabi

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The deadlock in negotiations between ASUU and the Federal Government remains even as the strike continues into the second month.

It has been about sixty six days since the strike began and it is no closer to being called off than it was on the first day. Both parties to negotiations, the FG and ASUU, have maintained their stance on the matter and neither has agreed to budge.

The Federal Government has insisted that N30 billion is all it has to offer and the management of ASUU is determined not to accept less than is due to it.

According to reports, the Federal Government is not considering increasing the amount beyond the amount it had offered to the lecturers on strike. ASUU has again warned government against blackmail, stressing the need for it to implement the 2009 FG/ASUU agreement, to the letter. It will be recalled that negotiations between both parties broke down with both combatants refusing to yield ground.

While federal government’s negotiation team appealed to the university lecturers to, in the interest of students and the country, accept the N30 billion offer it made to them, as part of the N92 billion requested for “earned allowance”, the union said it would not call-off the strike, until the total amount was released. Besides, there is also another area of disagreement, which is the N92 billion to bridge infrastructure deficits in the country’s ivory towers.

The federal government had met with Pro-Chancellors and Vice-Chancellors of federal universities, where modalities for the disbursement of a hundred billion, earlier raided by government team for universities’ infrastructure needs, were arrived at.

But, the president of ASUU, Dr. Nasir Fagge, faulted the manner of disbursement of the said amount, accusing government of not demonstrating enough transparency. Also speaking on the disbursement, the Benin zonal coordinator of ASUU, Dr. Sunny Ighalo, observed that: “The strike has indeed moved into a critical phase where government is now applying the instrument of intimidation and blackmail and other gimmicks to undermine the struggle.” He added that, “The purported disbursement… to universities arising from the meeting of Pro-Chancellors and Vice-Chancellors, was aimed at breaking our ranks, and is not acceptable to our union.”

In another development, Benue State governor and chairman of the federal government’s team on implementation of NEEDS Assessment in universities, Dr. Gabriel Suswam, stated that “the negotiation is becoming political”.

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