Strike: It is impossible to meetASUU’s Demands –FG

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Ilohzidane

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Strike: It is impossible to meetASUU’s Demands –FG
Posted on: October 23, 2013, 09:37:55 AM
Federal Government on Tuesday repeated its call on the striking university teachers to return to work in the interest of students and prevent further damage to the education system. Minister of Information, Labaran Maku,
made the call during the ministry’s
monthly press briefing in Abuja.
He said government had conceded to
most of the demands made by the
Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and wondered why the union
would not budge in the interest of the
nation.
“No nation can move forward if we all
expect government to give 100 per
cent time and effort to our problems. We run an economy that needs
attention in all phases,” the minister
said.
He said government’s commitment to
resolve ASUU crisis was further
demonstrated by its representation by Vice President Namadi Sambo in the
ongoing dialogue.
Maku explained that the strike was
not for salaries but for allowances, as
salaries had been increased.
According to the minister, “Salaries have been increased by 54.3 per cent
which is half of our monthly income
but they still insist on their N100 billon
allowance.
“Government offered N30 billion but
after a meeting with the Vice President, government promised another N10
billion, making it N40 billion.
“Government has also promised N100
billion from Education Trust Fund and
the N40 billon allowance has already
been paid in many universities, yet they are still under lock and key,” he
added.
The minister also stated that no
government had cooperated with
ASUU the way the present government
was doing. The minister, however, sympathised
with students now at home and called
on parents and Nigerians in general to
appeal to ASUU to go back to the
classrooms.
Meanwhile, placard-carrying members of ASUU, Niger Delta University (NDU)
chapter, protested in Yenagoa on
Tuesday, decrying the Federal
Government’s refusal to implement the
2009 FGN/ASUU pact.
Police authorities in the state denied the aggrieved university teachers
permission for street protest but
limited them to the confines of the
university’s Law Faculty in the Bayelsa
State capital.
Chairman of NDU ASUU, Beke Sese, who addressed reporters, also
disclosed that the Chief Security Officer
(CSO) to Governor Seriake joystickson
quizzed him few hours to the planned
protest on Tuesday morning.
Some of the placards brandished by the lecturers carried inscriptions like,
‘Not every child can go to Ghana to
study’; ‘Agreement is Agreement’;
‘Government save our universities’;
‘Poor people’s children need
universities’; ‘Can your child afford to go to Ghana and Malaysia, if no then
join ASUU to better our universities.’
Executive Secretary of the National
Universities Commission (NUC)
between 1996 and 2001, Muzanli
Jibril, on his part attributed the incessant strike by ASUU to
deficiencies in officials appointed by
government to negotiate with the
unionists.
He said more often than not
government enters into negotiations with ASUU officials unprepared, noting
that engaging former academics who
have held positions in government
could have been able to foster better
understanding of ASUU, its strike and
strategies. Jubril also said ASUU by its tradition
has been able to link significant
improvement in funding to strikes,
which has translated into “one ASUU
strike, one major increment.”
The ex-NUC scribe spoke at the anniversary lecture to mark NUC @ 50
+ 1 in Abuja on Tuesday, where he
said each industrial action by the
union was hinged on funding.
“Government enters into negotiations
with ASUU unprepared, if the government does its part, there would
be no need for ASUU to embark on
strike.
“The attitudes of successive
governments have not helped matters
as it has made the union to realise that it can only get what it wants by
embarking on strike.
“The major problem causing the
industrial actions is the ‘chronic under-
funding’ of the institutions,” Jibril
added. Edo State House of Assembly (EDHA)
on Tuesday also in a resolution urged
the university teachers to call off their
strike in the interest of the students
and the nation in general.
The resolution was sequel to the consideration of a motion on the ASUU
strike brought onto the floor by
Majority Leader, Philip Shaibu, under
Matters of Urgent Public Importance.
Chairman of the University of Lagos
(UNILAG) Parents Forum, Babatunde Majekodunmi, has, however, appealed
to ASUU members to bring their four-
month-old strike to an end in the
interest of students nationwide.
Reacting to President Goodluck
Jonathans call in Ado-Ekiti on Saturday on the striking lecturers to bring the
lingering crisis to an end,
Majekodunmi in a telephone interview
with Daily Independent explained that
the parents’ forum will not rest until
the crisis is resolved. He said the forum had made a lot of
positive moves in talking to the
lecturers to maintain truce so that
students who are the major causalities
of the lingering crisis can return to
classrooms for academic learning.

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