By Dayo Adesulu & Johnbosco Agbakwuru
ABUJA— Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, yesterday, in Abuja, admitted that the Federal Government has not fulfilled the agreement it entered into with the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, after a meeting with the duo last year.
The minister, who disclosed this, yesterday, while briefing State House correspondents after the weekly Federal Executive Council, FEC, meeting, also accused the union of not following due process in declaring the indefinite strike.
He promised to meet with the leadership of ASUU as soon as possible to find an amicable resolution of all the contentious issues.
He said: “Very sad that I am here and ASUU is on strike. Late last year, we had a meeting because ASUU gave one week notice of strike and we were able to work out some agreements.
“I must confess, government has not fulfilled its part of the bargain, even though we are unhappy that ASUU went on this strike without following due process and giving us good notice. We realised that we promised something and we didn’t fulfill it.
“I hope I will be meeting them later today or tomorrow and am sure we will be able to reach some agreement so that the strike will be called off as soon as possible.
“I am sure you are aware of the issues we agreed on, there is the issue of re-negotiation which is the only one they agreed government has done what it promised because we set up the re-negotiation team and negotiation is already ongoing.
“There is the issue of Earned Allowances and I think because of some miscommunication what we promised could not be done, but am assuring ASUU and the whole nation that it is going to be done.
“There is the issue of registration for Nigerian Universities Pension Commission. I think there are a few issues that need to be sorted out with the Nigerian Pension Commission, I believe there will be no problem with that.
FG insists on TSA
“The issue of their staff school, which I think the court has given them verdict to go ahead with it, they have requested that they should be allowed to stay off TSA and I think government will not do this but there are some peculiar funds in the university, like endowment, which are monies kept and all the interest they generate, prices and so on are given.
“Government will exempt that one only. I hope later on, when I meet them today, there will be total agreement.”
Meanwhile, speaking on telephone with Vanguard, National President of ASUU, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, insisted that the two ministries were formally informed and that while the Minister of Labour and Employment did not do anything about it, the Minister of Education replied the union that he was making efforts towards resolving the contentious issues.
NANS plans indefinite protest from Monday
Meanwhile, National Association of Nigerian Students, NANS, has vowed to embark on sustained, indefinite nationwide protest on August 21 should ASUU and the Federal Government fail to reach a compromise and call off the strike.
It described the Federal Government’s attitude towards the education sector as sardonic and satanic.
Speaking with Vanguard, yesterday, its Senate President, Comrade Taiwo Bamigbade, said after due consultation with various Students Union Government that constitute the Senate Arm of National Association of Nigerian Students, the association agreed to embark on a national protest.
He said: “When we commence the protest on Monday, we will not stop until ASUU and the Federal Government resolve the issue and call of the strike.
“We have agreed that all Students Union Governments in various institutions would join forces to begin the national protest, if by Sunday the Federal Government fails to reach at a compromise with the leadership of ASUU.”
According to him, the Students Union Government President of each state would anchor
He said further: ‘’We are resolute in our quest to secure and protect our future from being ruined. There is no going back in our struggle to emancipate Nigerian students from the shackles of oppressions.’’
However, Vanguard investigations revealed that students from the University of Lagos, UNILAG, and the Federal University of Technology, Akure, yesterday had a period of lecture each which was against ASUU directives
In his reaction, the Chair, UNILAG-ASUU, Dr Laja Odukoya, said there was no teaching in UNILAG, adding that the two lecturers who tried to teach students were stopped and they complied.
He, however, agreed that there were lectures on Tuesday, adding that UNILAG-ASUU officially joined the strike 12 noon Tuesday after their NEC meeting on campus.