The Chairman of Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, at the Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State, Joel Okewale, has said that Federal Government should be blamed for the continuing strike action by the Union.
He said the Federal Government has been “insincere, deceitful and unwillingness to resolve the issues raised by the Union.”
Okewale stated this yesterday while briefing newsmen at the ASUU Secretariat, OOU Mini Campus, Ago Iwoye.
The briefing was attended by the Secretary of the branch, Olugbenga Azeez, the immediate past zonal coordinator (Lagos) of ASUU and member of the union’s negotiating team, Adetola Nassir and other branch executive members.
Okewale informed journalists that rather than addressing and resolving the main issues that led to the strike, the Federal Government had engaged in dishing out false information to raise hope of Nigerians over the matter.
He noted that “government has not shown serious commitment to the defraying of the outstanding N1.1trillion revitalisation fund and the shortfalls in salaries to affected ASUU members.”
He pointed out that this “situation would make the suspension of the ongoing strike difficult.”
Okewale explained further that “the revitalisation fund as contained in the 2013 Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and 2017 Memorandum of Action (MoA) between the FG and ASUU, were meant to ensure rapid transformation of Nigeria’s public universities for improved efficiency, infrastructural development and global competitiveness.”
He added that the union had “agreed with the FG to release the outstanding revitalisation fund in tranches at N220b annually.”
He said that the release of N25b by the government to 69 public universities and which was widely publicised, was a far cry from what was agreed upon.
On the payment of shortfalls in salaries of ASUU members, Okewale disclosed that “N20b released by the FG for the purpose was not meant for university lecturers alone, but for staff of MDAs, polytechnics, colleges of education and others.”
According to him, “the Union would continue with the strike action until the FG shows serious commitment to the payment of revitalisation fund, renegotiation of 2009 agreement and addressing of other matters such as release of NUPEMCO’s operation license by PenCom, full payment of arrears of shortfalls in salaries of university academies, release of the report of forensic audit on Earned Academic Allowances (EAA), payment of outstanding arrears and mainstreaming of the allowances into 2018 budget, among other demands.”
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has said it was shocked by the last minute postponement of the presidential and National Assembly elections earlier scheduled to hold on Saturday, February 16, 2019.
The labour union advised the federal government to declare a two or three-day public holiday to enable workers travel to cast their votes following voter apathy that may have greeted the postponement of the elections, The Nation reports.
The president of the NLC, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, in a statement said many Nigerians would not have been able to vote due to logistics problems if the election held.
“We at the Nigerian Labour Congress join other Nigerians in expressing our shock at the last minute postponement of the presidential and National Assembly elections scheduled to hold on Saturday, February 16, 2019,” Wabba said.
“We share in the pains of those who in an uncommon show of patriotism, had to travel long distances to perform their civic duty. We similarly understand the outrage of those who had incurred huge and unquantifiable logistic costs. No explanation will be good enough given INEC’s repeated assurances and the zeal of Nigerians to cast their vote.
“However, given the fact that had the election taken place, a huge number of Nigerians would have been disenfranchised on account of gross and wide-spread logistic deficit, the postponement, as painful as it is, is a lesser evil of the two.”
The NLC urged Nigerians not to be disillusioned by the postponement but brace up for the rescheduled election.