Towards a final resolution to the face-off between the Federal Government and Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has written to the Accountant-General of the Federation, confirming the execution of the N200 billion in the Revitalisation of Universities Infrastructure Account.
The confirmation was conveyed through a memo to the Accountant General, dated December 10.
ASUU had insisted that it would not call off its over five months strike action if there was no official confirmation from the CBN indicating that it had received the N200 billion part-payment it requested.
A copy of the memo, signed by CBN’s Deputy Governor (Operations), Tunde Lemo, was circulated by the Senior Special Assistant to President Goodluck Jonathan on Public Affairs, Dr. Doyin Okupe yesterday.
Lemo’s memo said: “I write to confirm the execution of the following mandates by the Central Bank of Nigeria for funding of the above mentioned accounts.
“I wish to further confirm that the available balance in the aforementioned account is N200, 000, 000, 000 (Two Hundred Billion Naira only)”.
Okupe, who spoke with journalists yesterday, said with the execution of the mandates, there was no reason for the strike to continue.
The presidential aide also withdrew the FG’s threat to sack the lecturers following pleas from eminent Nigerians and stakeholders just as he said the sack threat became unnecessary because about 70 per cent of the lecturers complied with the directive to return to the classroom.
Okupe also maintained that President Jonathan is fully committed to the implementation of the agreements reached with ASUU leadership and that as a sign of commitment, a Needs Assessment Implementation Committee, which has ASUU representatives on board, would be inaugurated today to fast track the utilisation of the released funds and tackle infrastructural decay in the university system.
He said: “Government has received a number of representations from eminent Nigerians and stakeholders on the need to temper justice with mercy regarding the ultimatum issued to the striking lecturers.
“Government appreciates the fact that some universities have either resumed academic activities or announced resumption dates in line with the directives earlier issued by the Committee of Pro Chancellors.
“Now that evidence has been provided as to the availability of N200 billion for immediate disbursement to universities, we expect that ASUU will call off this strike so that normalcy will fully return to our campuses.
“Government does not intend to victimise anyone who participates in a legitimate strike action”.
Okupe assured ASUU on its three other demands, saying government has no reason to reject the conditions.