Less than 24 hours to the expiry of the seven-day ultimatum given to the Academic Staff Union of Universities for lecturers to resume work or get sacked, the Federal Government, yesterday, extended the ultimatum till Monday, December 9. This came as most members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities remained adamant and vowed to continue with the strike until their demands were met.
Announcing the extension, Supervising Minister of Education, Nyesom Wike said it was as a mark of respect for the former National President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, Professor Festus Iyayi, who died in an auto accident on his way to a National Executive Committee meeting of ASUU.
Speaking in Abuja, yesterday, Mr Wike said that the family of the late Professor Iyayi officially informed the ministry of the burial rites for the late ASUU President through the National Universities Commission, NUC, on Monday, hence the shift in the mandatory resumption date.
He said that the Federal Government will fully participate in the burial rites of the former ASUU President.
According to a statement by the minister’s Special Assistant, Simeon Nwakaudu: “The decision to shift the date of the compulsory resumption of Federal Universities for academic activities has been taken as a result of the respect we have for the former ASUU President”.
Wike stated that the Federal Government took the decision to re-open the universities in the interest of Nigerians and not to engender any form of show-down with ASUU.
He said Nigerians must appreciate the fact that the pro-chancellors and chairmen of the Federal Universities Governing Councils took the decision to re-open the schools, pointing out that the Federal Government’s directive was to the vice-chancellors who are expected to comply with the directive of the pro-chancellors.
The minister also said that the Federal Government has already opened a dedicated account for the revival of infrastructure in the universities, while the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education has signed the resolution that the Federal Government will commit N1.3trillion into the revival of infrastructure in the universities.
He stated that despite the repeated misrepresentation of facts on the 2009 FGN-ASUU agreement, the Federal Government had implemented over 80 per cent of the issues contained in the document, with only the payment of earned allowances and revitalisation of infrastructure pending.