By OLA AJAYI
IBADAN—The Academic Staff Union of Universities has described as a misrepresentation of facts, the comment made by the Co-ordinating Minister of the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, that the striking university lecturers demanded N92 billion as earned allowances in the 2009 agreement.
According to the union, which spoke through the Chairman, University of Ibadan chapter, Dr. Olusegun Ajiboye, the Federal Government and the minister are not telling the truth.
In a statement, the union said: “I want Nigerians to ask the minister where she got her figure of N92 billion from. There was never a time that ASUU made a demand that is up to N92 billion. I think the 92 billion naira is just the imagination of the Minister of Finance and Co-ordinating Minister of the Economy.”
Dr. Ajiboye clarified the issue noting that the earned allowances jointly calculated with the Federal Government and ASUU in the 2009 agreement was N87 billion and it covers allowances for three and a half years for thousands of lecturers in Nigerian universities.
He stressed that the N87 billion was a compromise made by ASUU by scaling down from N127 billion to N87 billion.
The university lecturer urged Nigerians to say no to people whom he said were bent on destroying public institutions.
He said: “This is a government that signed an agreement with us on January 24, 2012 to the effect that they would inject N100 billion as funding into the universities in the first one month and that before the end of 2012, they would inject another N300 billion. The same government did not put down a kobo to any of these universities.
“So, it is a sad story that we are hearing now that the government cannot meet a demand of N87 billion whereas the government said that they would keep on putting N400 billion annually for three years consecutively to the tune of about N1.2 trillion. If the government is now saying it cannot meet N87billion, Nigerians should know that this is not a government that can be trusted for anything.
“The total amount of earned allowances for academic staff in Nigerian universities for the three and a half years computed together with the government was N87 billion. And that was agreed based on negotiations because we started from N127billion and it was reduced to N107 billion before we now got to 15 percent of salary payment of each person. It is called earned allowances and it is the sum total of the excess work which academic staff had done for the past three and a half years. You are now telling Nigerians that this is what these people are asking for as if it’s a new thing. Nigerians should know that it is what the people have worked for and not N92 billion. It is fallacy and what these people (federal government) are just pushing is propaganda.”