The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) at the weekend revealed that the union can only suspend its ongoing industrial action when the federal government releases the sum of N50billion revitalisation fund.
ASUU President, Professor Biodun Ogunyemi who stated this in Ibadan, the Oyo state capital, insisted that the federal government must pay the N50 billion revitalisation fund for the union to consider suspending the ongoing strike.
Ogunyemi, while speaking during a press conference held at the ASUU Secretariat, University of Ibadan, disclosed that members of the union have said only concrete evidence of implementation by the government would make them return to the classrooms.
He maintained that the union has lost confidence in government making empty promises which it will not keep to after agreements have been reached.
Ogunyemi further revealed that other conditions attached to the suspension of the strike is the presentation of concrete evidence of the payment of the promised N20billion earned academic allowances and showing how the balance of N85billion will be paid with timelines.
According to Ogunyemi, while ASUU has rejected government’s proposal of N20billion (which is to be paid in two tranches) for the revitalisation of universities, the union is asking government to mainstream the earned academic allowances into the 2019 budget which is still being worked upon by the National Assembly.
He lamented that Nigeria’s ruling class does not see education as a priority but prefer to create new education colonies of private educational institutions which cannot meet the needs of Nigerian children.
Ogunyemi said, “We want them to pay immediately N50billion as a sign of commitment this quarter and for the next three quarters government can pay N50billion in each quarter.“So our members have rejected the 20billion proposed by them that will be spread over two quarters in 2019.
“Our members have insisted on the release of at least N50billion. In relation to earned academic allowances which they have an outstanding N105billion our members are saying that even if you (Government) are releasing N20billion let it be stated clearly that it is only for ASUU members and the balance which you promised to pay in four instalments, attach timelines to the balance and figures. In 2017, this government promised to mainstream the earned academic allowances into the budget so that we wont be coming to talk about arrears.
“If government had done put that into the 2018 budget we would not be talking about arrears now.“Our members are saying government should take steps to mainstream it into the 2019 budget and that is not late because they (National assembly and executive) are still working on the budget,” he said.