The Academic Staff Union of Universities said on Monday that despite meeting six times with the Federal Government, it had no concrete agreement to take back to its members to resolve the ongoing strike action.
The ASUU President, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, said this in an interview with our correspondent, noting that the union submitted the names of 11 universities with shortfalls in the salaries of its members, and “the government kept saying they were working on it. If they pay that money, we will have something to take back to our members.”
The union began its strike on November 5, paralysing academic activities in public universities nationwide since then.
Ogunyemi said on Monday that the union would not shun meetings with the Federal Government, “but if the government makes the meetings baseless, we will tell Nigerians.”
He said, “Nothing concrete has been achieved so far. What we have been seeing are promises and promises. And what our members said in resuming the strike action is that we should come back to them when the government has implemented fully the outstanding issues in the Memorandum of Action in 2017.
“It is on that mandate that we stand. We have held six meetings and the government made only promises. The only thing so far is the report of the forensic audit with respect to Earned Academic Allowances.“We talked about mainstreaming the EAA into the budget of the Federal Government. We constituted a committee which had submitted its report, but nothing has come out of it.“On the issue of revitalisation funds, there are five outstanding tranches and how many of the tranches will the government be willing to release? Is it two or three tranches and when are they releasing them? These are the concrete actions we want to take back to our members. These are the questions we are asking from the government.“We have submitted the names of 11 universities with shortfalls in the salaries of our members. The government kept saying they were working on it. If they pay that money also, we will have something to take back to our members.
“The government also promised to set up a platform with the state governors, where we can discuss with them the best practices to run their universities. That has yet to be done also. So, we want the platform to be established concretely, so that matters relating to state universities can be thoroughly addressed.
“So, in all these areas and others, we have not seen any concrete action from the government. As of Monday, I have not seen any evidence. But if the government invites us, we will go. The ASUU has never rejected any meeting with the government. We don’t shun meetings. But if the government makes the meetings baseless, we will tell Nigerians.”