By Toby Prince
The ongoing Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) will linger for a while after the striking lecturers rejected the offers made to it early this week by the Nigerian government.
The President of ASUU, Biodun Ogunyemi, who declared this on Saturday said the decision was made upon reviewing the offers made by the government, members of the union across various campuses and zones rejected it.
At the seventh meeting with the leadership of ASUU on Tuesday, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, had claimed the labour dispute with the university teachers was on the verge of being resolved.
According to Mr Ngige, the office of the Accountant-General of the Federation and the Ministry of Finance presented evidence that N15.4 billion had been released to public universities.
On earned academic allowances, he said President Muhammadu Buhari approved N20 billion to offset arrears of the 2009 to 2012 verified earnings by university teachers.
Mr. Ogunyemi, however, described government’s offer on the outstanding revitalization fund of N1.1 trillion as tokenism, insisting that government should release at least a tranche of N220 billion spread over four quarters of 2019.
“On earned academic allowances, our members said government’s proposed amount out of the verified balance should not be less than the total amount released last time, while evidence of mainstreaming the allowances into the 2019 budget should be shown. Also, timeline should be attached to payment of the balance of the arrears.
“The revitalization fund and earned academic allowances are the two critical areas on which our members feel strongly about. They expect necessary adjustments on the part of government before they can reconsider their decision on the ongoing strike action.”
ASUU had embarked on what it termed total and indefinite strike on November 4, 2018, to demand improved funding of universities and implementation of previous agreements entered with the government.