ASUU strike to end soon; read details

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The branch, however, called for payment of the allowance before the strike will be called off.

As results of the various congresses of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) trickle in, there are indications that the branches have accepted the Federal Government new offers.

But it is not yet uhuru as the congresses have given the Federal Government conditions to be met before the eight-month industrial action will be suspended by the union.

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Two days after the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, announced that the Federal Government’s negotiating team was still awaiting completion of Integrity Test on the Academic Staff Union of Universities’ (ASUU’s) University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS), the Federal Government made an offer to the university lecturers. The latest offer seems to have moved the eight-month negotiation to a higher gear.

The Federal Government, at its recent meeting with ASUU, shifted grounds noticeably when it offered a total sum of N65 billion to the public university system to address some of its demands; revitalisation of universities and arrears of payment for earned allowances to lecturers. The government also said that salary arrears to striking lecturers would be reviewed for payment on an older platform, different from the government’s Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) and the UTAS. This has also reduced some of the troubling points in the industrial dispute. The new offer has been taken back to ASUU by the union’s president for consideration, a marked change from the stasis of the past months. The ball is now back in the court of ASUU.

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It is part of the public record in Nigeria that a team was appointed by the Administration of President Olusegun Obasanjo to look into the accounts of the rested Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF), which was established by the military Government led by General Sani Abacha to accelerate the delivery of public goods and improve the general wellbeing of Nigerians. It was chaired by Major-General Muhammadu Buhari (retd).

The investigation team, which was called Interim Management Team, was composed of the these personalities, Dr. Haroun Adamu (Chairman), Alhaji Abdu Abdurrahim, Barrister Achana Gaius Yaro, Arc Edward Eguavoen, Mr. T. Andrew Adegboro and Engr Baba Goni Machina. They did a thorough job of the assignment.

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The purpose of the probe or investigation of PTF, many Nigerians believed, rightly or wrongly, was to find even the tiniest hint of possible breach of public trust by its erthwhile Chairman, Muhammadu Buhari. That possible sign of a possible wrong doing could have been used to dent his good name in the eyes of Nigerians who strongly believed that he was honest, prudent and genuinely committed to deploying national resources entrusted to him for the benefit of all Nigerians.

ACADEMIC Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) branches are divided over whether to accept the Federal Government’s offer and call off their eight-month-old strike.

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The union will harmonise the positions of zones and branches at a meeting in Abuja today.

With some branches insisting that the government must meet all the demands before the strike is called off, the union may put the decision to a vote.

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The Ahmadu Bello University branch agreed with the government on the N40 billion Earned Academic Allowance (EAA).

Lecturers at the Federal University of Petroleum Resources (FUPRE), Delta State, said negotiations with the Federal Government must be concluded before the strike is called off.

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Ezekiel Agbalagba, chairman of ASUU at the university, said the congress on Wednesday accepted the EAA, but rejected the N25 billion for the revitalisation of the varsities.

According to him, the latest concession by the Federal Government is “an offer”, adding: “Let it land in our purse first.”

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