By SUZAN EDEH
BAUCHI—Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, Thursday, expressed shock and displeasure with what it considered highly embarrassing, the statement credited to the Coordinating Minister of the economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, that the lecturers were making a fresh demand from the Federal Government.
At a briefing, Zonal coordinator of Bauchi Zone of ASUU, Dr Usman Abubakar, said contrary to the position of the minister, ASUU was not making fresh demand, but asking for the implementation of existing agreement.
He said: “Contrary to the minister’s assertion that “ASUU is demanding for N92 billion”, we wish to inform the public that the said amount is a debt, not a demand. It is a debt the Federal Government is owing staff of affected universities (both academic and non-academic) over a period of four years. The Federal Government has to pay, if it has to show signs of a responsible and honourable government.”
He said the minister’s pronouncement was a deliberate and calculated attempt to blackmail ASUU, confuse the public and reduce ASUU’s patriotic cause to a mere payment of allowances.
The minister’s comments, according to Abubakar, indicated that government had no intention of honouring the agreement, saying “how could the minister have made the claim of no money to honour the agreement when the finance ministry was represented throughout the negotiations in the 2009 ASUU/FGN agreement and the MoU. What could be more dishonourable and deceitful by a government than this.”