Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, has asked the Federal Government to release N50 billion to demonstrate its commitment to the revitalisation of public universities, in line with previous agreements with their union.
The striking lecturers gave this as a condition for calling off its strike, which began November 4 last year.
The N50 billion, the union said, will form the first tranche of the N220 billion government agreed for the project this year and add to the N20 billion earlier released for the year.
The President of ASUU, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, who disclosed this in an interview with Premium Times on Wednesday night, said the union was not asking the government to release the whole N220 billion at once.
ASUU called the current strike to press for improved funding of universities and implementation of previous agreements with the government.
The union is also demanding implementation of the 2009 FGN/ASUU agreements, Memorandum of Understanding (MoU; 2012 and 2013) and Memorandum of Action (MoA, 2017) and the truncation of the renegotiation of the union’s agreements.
The union asked the government to release funds for the revitalisation of public universities, based on the FGN-ASUU MoU of 2012, 2013 and the MoA of 2017. The teachers are also angry over the failure of the government to release operational licence to the Nigerian University Employees Pension Company, NUPEMCO.
However, a major issue dragging the negotiations is the revitalisation of the universities. At present, the government is yet to release the N1.1 trillion it agreed to release as part of the funds for the revitalisation project.
The 2013 MoU stipulated that public universities need N1.3 trillion for a modest revitalisation. The fund was to be released in tranches of N200billion in 2013, N220billion 2014, N220billion 2015, 220billion in 2016, N220billion in 2017 and N220billion in 2018.