By Dayo Adesulu
As the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, strike enters the third week, undergraduates in public universities are lamenting their fate. This happened just as the meeting between ASUU and the Federal Government held on Thursday ended in deadlock.
While another meeting is scheduled to hold this week, ASUU is insisting that until the Federal Government accedes to its demands as highlighted in the 2009 agreement, university teachers will not return to the classroom.
The union wants government to resume negotiation on the 2009 agreement regarding the decay in public universities.
While decrying the decay in infrastructure and equipment in public universities, ASUU is asking for N1.1 trillion to fund the university system.
Besides the 2009 agreement, ASUU is accusing government of disregard for the agreements it reached with the union in 2013 and 2017, as well as the failure to pay the arrears of the shortfall in salaries, even after the presidential initiative on continuous audit verification.
It explained that the Federal Government had failed to release the operational licence of the Nigeria University Pension Management Company to serve as a pension fund administrator for universities’ staff, as contained in the 2017 Memorandum of Action.
ASUU is equally asking government to address some issues in University of Ilorin, Lagos State University and Kwara State University, among others.
The issues, according to ASUU President, Professor Biodun Ogunyemi, include the payment of fractions and non-payment of salaries, earned academic allowances, non-release of operational license of NUPEMCO, non-implementation of the provisions of the 2014 Pension Reform Act with respect to retired professors and their salaries, and exclusion of university staff schools from funding by government.
Other demands are funding for the revitalisation of public universities that entails implementation of Needs Assessment Report and addressing poor funding of state universities and proliferation of universities by their Visitors.
Here are the five demands of ASUU in a nutshell:
1.Areas of agreement include funding for revitalization of public universities and the issue of Earned Academic Allowances.
2.The issue of University Staff Schools.
- The implementation of the judgment of the National Industrial Court, National Universities Pension Management Company and guidelines for pension matters for professors.
4.The exemption offered by the government regarding the issue of TSA, which included the issue of grants, endowment funds as well as salary shortfall, which is already being implemented by the government.
5.The union also promised to submit a position paper to the Federal Government on their observation with a view for government to advise state governments.