BY DAYO ADESULU
Two months into a nationwide strike by polytechnic lecturers, Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, Monday, began a nationwide strike over alleged Federal Government’s refusal to implement the agreement between it and the union over unpaid entitlements, its National President, Dr. Nasir Fagge, has said.
Polytechnics lecturers are also on strike due to alleged non-implementation of agreements and lack of infrastructure in their institutions.
Fagge spoke in an interview with newsmen, yesterday, at the University of Lagos, UNILAG, after the union’s National Executive Council, NEC, meeting at Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State.
He said: “We are embarking on an indefinite strike nationwide because Federal Government reneged on the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, signed with ASUU in 2009 to pay lecturers their EARN allowances.”
According to Fagge, Federal Government, in 2009 signed an agreement to pay each lecturer N12,500 per month as EARN allowance, which it has not done since then.
He said: “The allowances include excess work load, high carriage of student per lecturer, responsibility allowance, ranging from administrative responsibility borne by lectures for example, as Head of Department, Deans of Faculties, Examination Officers, Course Advisers and Supervision of thesis.
“The highest any lecture gets from this allowance is N12,500 per month. The truth is that since 2009 no lecturer has been paid any allowance apart from his salary.”
Fagge explained that when the non-payment of allowance was brought to the notice of Federal Government, it said that it forgot to include it in the budget and promised to make amends in subsequent but never did.
Before the commencement of strike, Fagge noted that the union held several meetings with officials of the Federal Government on the issue but regretted that government did not take the union seriously.
He said: “We went ahead to go on a warning strike and they never did anything to avert the industrial action.
“We had series of interaction with the Federal Government at the national level, but to the dismay of ASUU, the government recently came with a new position that they can not pay more than 50 percent of the agreed amount
“It had earlier been reduced to 80 percent by the union.
“Between December and January 2011, the union suspended its industrial action over ASUU/FG agreements. Within the period, the union had series of meetings with Federal Government.
“When the strike was suspended two and half years ago, there was an MoU signed with the Federal Government.
“In the MoU, the Federal Government agreed to inject funds to uplift the infrastructure in the universities which it never did.”