The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) yesterday said the Federal Government must sign the resolutions reached at the meeting with President Goodluck Jonathan for it to end a strike it embarked upon five months ago.
ASUU President Nasir Isa Fagge stated this during a press conference at the Labour House in Abuja.
“We want to make it very clear that we shall bow only to what we as academics are convinced will serve the interest of Nigeria and its people, no matter their ethnic, religious or class origins. This is where we stand. We shall not be cowed,” he said. He accused the Minister of Education Nyesom Wike of political blackmail which he said will not resolve the crisis.
Fagge said the union is insisting on a signed resolution “preferably by the Attorney General of the Federation and a representative of ASUU, with the President of the Nigeria Labour Congress as a witness.”
This he said is to forestall “certain uncertainties” that may arise in the interpretation of the resolution reached, stressing that the union had at no time added any demands to agreements reached as “falsely declared by the minister of education.”
He said the demand was also in reaction to announcements by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation Anyim Pius Anyim that the 2012 memorandum of understanding (MOU) “a document authorised by himself was not binding on government since it was signed by a permanent secretary and was therefore a mere promise”.
In the resolution signed by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education Mac John Nwaobiala on the November 6, 2013, it was agreed that N200 billion would be released as 2013 Revitalisation Fund for public universities, which ASUU wants “deposited with the CBN and disbursed to the benefitting universities within two weeks.”
According to the resolution, a total of N1.3 trillion is to be released between 2013 and 2018 with N200 billion for 2013, N220 billion for 2014, N220 billion for 2015, N220 billion for 2016, N220 billion for 2017 and N220 billion for 2018.
But ASUU members in their letter to President Goodluck Jonathan after meeting him, asked for the “renegotiation of the 2009 agreement in 2014 be included in the final document as agreed at the discussion.
To clear the air on how branches voted on whether to suspend the strike or not, Fagge said: “of the 52 branches of ASUU, 48, roughly 92% advised conditional suspension of the strike i.e. suspending the strike only if certain conditions are met, and four advised suspension of the strike before pursuing the implementation of certain conditions.”
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