Wednesday , 27 August 2014
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ASUU Demands N160 Billion From Government as Allowances

As Federal Government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) were trying to iron out issues yesterday at a meeting convened by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Anyim Pius Anyim, revelations that the union was demanding N106 billion from government as end allowances came out at the National Universities Commission (NUC).

The House of Representatives Chairman, Committee on Education Farouk Lawal and his members were on an oversight function to the NUC but the discussion soon moved from the university system to the current problem on the minds of many – the ASUU strike.

Executive Secretary of NUC, Professor Julius Okojie said ASUU was demanding N106 billion as end allowances which cover assessments by professors for projects of PHD students and professorship. This amount is nearly 10 times what universities get as capital grant yearly, which is about N11 billion.

Professor Okojie said government was made to believe that the governing councils of universities who had hired the academic staff would foot the bill but rather government was been made to pay.

His words: “The issue of end allowances government said the councils are employers of the university staff, you can’t go and budget for end allowances, it is job that is done that you pay for. Government said let us even see what it amounts to. It took them two years to bring the data. When it finally came, only 11 universities submitted and only four of them were useful and they are asking for N106 billion when capital grant for federal universities in a year is N11 billion. The issue of consolidated salary was to reduce the issue of many allowances and we are going back to the same old process.

The indefinite, total strike declared by Academic Staff Union of Universities, has cripped academic activities at several institutions.

“As a professor, I have gone to many universities to assess final year students’ projects for PHD and people on professorship. I have never collected money; they are now prescribing what should be paid for assessing professorship. The understanding then was that council should be able to address those issues but we now know that councils which are supposed to be employers of the universities do not have that authority the way they are going because they hire and fire. They can even dismiss the vice-chancellor but when it comes to issue of paying end allowances they go to government.”

He argued that contrary to accusations by ASUU that government had reneged on the 2009 agreement, it had met some of their demands to an extent.

“To a large extent, government has met most of the requirements. They said let us just sign, if there are matters arising we would just sit down with the implementation committee and get it resolved. Nobody is saying that now. They keep saying that government has reneged. As soon as the agreement was signed government, paid all the arrears then initiated the issue of the 70 years retirement age. The issue of improved funding has gone on, through the intervention agencies, even government subventions have also improved.

“We implemented salaries up to 52 and half per cent; yearly subvention from government has improved, ETF has been injecting a lot of money in respect of book fund, research fund and zonal laboratories. Two of the first generation universities have received over N3 billion each to upgrade their facilities and infrastructure. This is more than 10 times what they have been receiving in the last 10 years.”

But Lawal who was part of the last agreement signed two months ago by ASUU and the Federal Government said government went to sleep after that and did not do much to avert the current strike. He explained how the National Assembly was trying to meet the legislative demands of the union especially the 70 years retirement age for professors.

“In the sixth assembly, we introduced a bill that was meant to address that issue. It was passed; unfortunately when it got to the president for assent it was discovered that the bill did not reflect what ASUU wanted and so two months ago, when government and ASUU signed an agreement to try to see that most of the issues were implemented before an indefinite strike action was embarked on by ASUU, we took it upon ourselves believing that the legislative requirement would also address some of the demands, we pressed on the executive to submit an executive bill. When we realized it was not forthcoming, the committee sponsored private member bills – one is an amendment to the universities miscellaneous act that would upgrade the retirement age and the other is a bill that would ensure that for academic staff of tertiary institutions it is raised to 65 years. We have taken first and second reading, we would work on it latest by next week and that bill would be passed by the House of Representatives and I believe once that is done the Senate would concur with us,” he said.

He also agreed that the university system was in dire need of improved funding but that even that was been addressed by government.

Farouk said: “On the issue of funding, even though we could not address a significant improvement in the funding, I know we were able to amend ETF Act to now change it to the Tertiary Education Trust Fund so that more funds would go into funding our tertiary institutions and universities. When there was the warning strike two months ago, there was a meeting with the executive, particularly the Minister of Labour, Minister of Education and leadership of ASUU, and we were in attendance as observers and an agreement was signed by two sides hoping that within two months a lot of the remaining issues would be addressed. It is in that respect that government did not do much. The momentum by the executive was lost.”

He, however, cautioned that such funding must be put to proper use.

“I agree with ASUU, we need to fund the universities better. But while we are doing that we also need better transparency and accountability in the management of the funds and we also need greater efficiency. They need an efficient system of implementing the budget. We need to improve on the prioritizing of the funds that go to the universities because sometimes they use the funds for something that is not a key aspect of what a university is supposed to stand for,” he further said.

The committee chairman expressed disapproval that NUC was yet to present before the National Assembly a proposal for the amendment of its act so it can be empowered to criminalize establishment of illegal degree awarding institutions.

He said: “Like I always say, the danger of these institutions is that when they award these certificates, it erodes the integrity of the actual certificates of those who are termed legal institutions. They are a serious menace and sabotage on educational standards. We need to criminalise the existence of these institutions; we need to capitalize punishment because this is creating more havoc than financial crimes.”

Professor Okojie, however explained that a proposal for amendment had been approved by the Federal Executive Council and would soon be sent to the National Assembly.

Source: Dailytrust

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Comments

21 comments

  1. ASUU deserve it..

  2. Asuu has shown once more its greedy nature.Demanding more than ten times what universities receive as grant annually as allowance is uncalled for.asuu should take a second thought about its demands.

  3. The step taken by ASUU is commendable. Teachers have endured a lot in this country. If ASUU wins, then their counterparts in the lower level will follow. Enough of poor remuneration.

  4. ASUU even deserves more dan dat…. Fed Govt, u pple re vry greedy . U hv eaten enough money. Abeg grant ASUU reqst so dat dis strike wil stp. D Stdnts r d one’s suferin.

  5. This strike by asuu is really commendable infact this government of nigeria is not even bearing it in mind that out of the best 100 universities of the world none of them is from nigeria, so it is really comendable we hope they will negotiate quickly so that we will go back to our universities. We hope…

  6. I heard while this strike is on, the lecturers would still be paid. Pls I would like to know how true this is.

  7. Asuu is quite right because universities are another source of income 4 nigeria but fedral govt did nt realize this all i want to say is that both party should please try and iron the issue out so that accademic activities will start immediately.

  8. dis govt is a crazy one, let’s remove d demo. Spending billions of naira on football without a reward our education sector in crises dere u go again subsidy removal. JEG u had beta do sumtin bcos d God dat put u dere is furious at ur deeds.

  9. Pls asuu should call off this strike & allow us to go ahead with our studies

  10. I hope this strike is coming to an end, asuu should reduce their needs as they are not the only ones that need money in the country.

  11. thats a bold step by ASSU but demanding for ten times their earnings is something i dont like,please FG should try and implement the once they can for us to go back to school janurary

  12. No oh, unless school to increase times ten oh

  13. Pls i am pleading on behave of student,that Asuu and d federal government should meet a point of agreement so as to call off this strike.we want to go back 2 school,pls.

  14. pls the FG and ASUU should find a better solution to the issue on ground. Students are tired of sitting down @ home. Pls we are the leaders of tomorrow pls and pls settle it amicably. Mr president and member of the house,remember u are once students like us.

  15. ASUU deserves more dan they ar demanding. FG shuld respond sharp shap, we want to go back to sch! D money is very easy to pay- let d ‘PolyTrickStars’ cut back on corruptn and siphoning of d nation’s treasury.

  16. Frequent strike actions have made our universities fall from popularity to non priority statue.how long shall will go on this? Our future does not lies in the hand of statemen,but in God’s hand

  17. frequent occurence of strike action is just the problem of our country, meanwhile government will always want to play there own game… For how long are we gonna stop this kind of an action…? Only God can help us… I believe that our nation is just govern by black minded bodies in all parties… Just imagine? May God take absolute control of the situation. AASU strike should be call of soon… Students are hungry of academics

  18. Taking education for granted is the order of the day in Nigeria now. I wish we student can help ourselves. The youths are the leader of tommorrow so the say. But, it seems they have forgotten our adage which says “we shall know and prepare a better tomorrow today”. How is tomorrow going to be? Today’s platform is rough education is crumbling and standard of living is drowing and all you say is we have to sacrifice. Is our lives (youths) the sacrifice for our future? Still we invest on black record. Victoryless sport while our educational record is crumbling. I believe a father will write a will for his wards. You (government) are our fathers. Don’t ruin the property your fathers left behind because if you do your children (youths) will suffer and your home (Nigeria) may die.

  19. Although dis akson of asuu is highly commendable but non-chalant attitude of FG,ministers &senates to dis effect is strongly condemmable.de epleptic nature of 9ja edu is ignored&unturned by our leaders to straightened d life of dere wards who wl suceed dem to rule us.ALLAH shall forbd dem to reality, bkos we all deserve it.no plot against d peace&welbeing of dis kountry shall prosper(amn).dear 9jans,let be united&pray to erase d dent on our plain attir to enjoy d best we are endowed of.long life 1 9JA.long life d first&d best.long life oyo.long life sw LG.gudby 9ja

  20. i 90% concur with these demands but lets’ come to think of it; throughout my five yrs btech program in the university, i didnt recieve any lecture from a professor untill my final year. Most of the times, the profs. Send their junior colleague to stand in 4 them yet, they are asking for the extension of retirement age…a 50-65yr old prof doesnt come to class so, hw or wat would u expect from a 70yr old one?..only few of them come to class while others run after contract despite their reasonable salary.. I wonder why FG should accept or honour this.

  21. Asuu all what they were requesting, FG should please consider the future of we students. Time and tide wait for nobody.

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