By LAIDE AKINBOADE
ABUJA — Federal Government, yesterday, appealed to Nigeria Union of Teachers, NUT, to shelve its proposed solidarity strike with Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU.
The Supervising Minister of Education, Mr. Nyesom Wike, made the appeal in Abuja, at a meeting with the members of NUT on the proposed industrial action.
It will be recalled that the NUT on September 26, 2013, gave Federal Government two weeks ultimatum to honour the agreement they had with ASUU or face total shutdown of the education sector in the country.
The Minister of Labour, Chief Emeka Wogu, who was present at the meeting, said the Federal Government has already implemented 80 per cent of the 2009 Agreement they had with ASUU.
According to Wike, “The 2009 agreements with ASUU have a number of issues and I want to tell you that the Federal Government, has already met 80% of the critical needs. It is remaining only two major components which are earned allowances, and they are expecting the Federal Government to release N400billion annually for infrastructural development.
“ASUU now asked the Federal Government to develop the universities annually, and it shouldn’t be part of Federal budget and not part of Tertiary Education Trust Fund, TETFund, and that the Federal Government should allocate N400 billion for capital projects in the universities. This is not realistic, because we have Polytechnics and colleges of education”.
Most universities haven’t accessed their 2012 intervention funds so there are still funds for them.
On earned allowances he said: “The N30billion was for a start and then if it is not enough we would find a way to pay ASUU.”
The Minister of Labour, Mr. Wogu in his contribution said, discussion with ASUU is still ongoing, and that dialogue has not broken down.
“One thing that is clear is that Federal Government has started implementing the 2009 agreement so if there are grey areas, the appropriate thing to do is to settle it. The thing is that those grey areas cannot be settled when ASUU is on strike, the grey areas can still be settled if they go back to the classrooms. I think the issue is going back to the classrooms, intimidations would not resolve it, but for all hands to be on deck to resolve it.
“We have got to a stage where even ASUU has realised that government has done enough towards the implementation of the 2009 agreement.”
About the proposed sympathy strike of NUT he said: “I want to appeal to you to call off the proposed threat of strike. We just want to reassure that Federal Government would soon resolve the ASUU strike. Do not compound what is on ground, but rather suggest solution to government on how to end the strike.”
In his response the President of Nigerian Union of Teachers, NUT, Comrade Alogba Olukoya, said the union was not happy at the state of education in the country.”