The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has said ‘no’ to the Federal Government money offer to end the ongoing strike, saying the money being offered is far from its demands.
ASUU is asking for the sum of N220 billion out of N1.1 trillion the Federal Government allegedly owes public universities.
ASUU president, Prof Biodun Ogunyemi, while speaking to Vanguard in an interview, said lecturers have resolved to go on with the nine-week old strike until the government pays a minimum of N220 billion.
Recall that the Federal Government and ASUU met in Abuja on Monday, January 7, 2019, to put to bed their differences and call off the strike but that was not achieved.
Sequel to the meeting, Nigeria’s Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige disclosed to journalist that the Federal Government has made available, N15.4 billion for the payment of the salary shortfalls, which according to him is one of the major demands of the union.
“On the issue of salaries in tertiary institutions, especially in universities, the Ministry of Finance and the Office of the Accountant- General provided evidence that as of Dec. 31, 2018, the Federal Government had remitted N15.4 billion.
“Also on the issue of Earned Allowances in the universities system, they also showed us evidence that Mr President has approved the N20 billion to be used to offset the outstanding arrears of the 2009 and 2012 audit verified earnings, in the university system,” he said.
Responding to government’s claim, ASUU president said the union would have to consult its members on the possible agreement presented by the Federal Government at the meeting.
After necessary consulting with its members, the union members unanimously agreed that the government has to pay a substantial amount of the money it’s owing them before the on-going strike can be called off.
“We agreed to go back to our members in order to show to them that we are a difficult union.
“We will communicate our position to the Federal Government this week, if our demands are met, we will call off the strike.
“We have shifted ground from N1.1 trillion to N220 billion that will cover for three quarters in 2019.” ASUU president said.
Prof. Ogunyemi went further to say that the union will suspend the strike this week if the federal government paid the N220 billion.
ASUU declared an indefinite nationwide strike on November 4, 2018 at its NEC meeting which held at the Federal University of Technology, Akure, Ondo state.