The striking Academic Staff Union of Universities has rejected the proposed payment of N10, 000 per session by each parent to assist the Federal Government in making more funds available for universities.
NAPLAN’s Public Relations Officer, Dr. Ademola Ekundayo, in an interview said, “We are proposing a sum of N10,000 per parent every session that will be directly paid to the universities. That will be our own contribution, apart from other statutory payments, to make more funds available to the universities.”
However, the ASUU President, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, reacted to the proposed levy on Thursday, while speaking during an interview on Arise Television, where he said the parents should intervene by joining the body in mounting pressure on the apex government.
Osodeke said, “I think what this association should be doing is to tell the government to perform its functions. They should put pressure on the government to use Nigerians’ money to fund education as it is done in other countries.
“They should add to the pressure coming from ASUU to ensure that the government prioritizes education. That is more significant than the N10,000.”
NAAT Suspends Strike
Meanwhile, the National Association of Academic Technologists on Thursday announced the suspension of its 158-day strike.
The union’s President, Ibeji Nwokoma, made this known during a press briefing held at the national secretariat of the union at the University of Abuja.
“We have suspended the strike but we are calling on the government to pay the backlog of our salaries,” Nwokoma said.
The union, like other unions in universities, had blamed the “failure” of the government to honor the 2009 agreement made between the Federal Government and the unions.
NANS Condemns ASUU
The National Association of Nigerian Students has condemned ASUU’s insistence on the payment of a six-month salary for the strike period before its members call off their ongoing strike.
The association’s President. Sunday Ashefon made its position known in a statement made available to journalists in Ado Ekiti titled, “Six months’ salary arrears: ASUU’s insistence is selfish, inconsiderate, insensitive.”
The students also called on state governors to ensure the opening of state government-owned universities.
Ashefon said the demand “is not only insensitive; it is also selfish, inconsiderate, and uncharitable. The six months are periods of no work. As much as we encourage the government to pay their arrears irrespective, it is unfair to base the resumption of academic activities on full payment of the arrears.”
He added, “We call on all the state governors to ensure that all our state universities are open now because they will not be beneficiaries of ASUU’s demand from the Federal Government as governors are responsible for the founding of the state universities.”
Minister Jets Out
The Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, is said to be currently out of the country as the ASUU strike continues.
Adamu is in charge of negotiations between the Federal Government and striking university unions.
A source close to the minister, who did not want his name in print because of the sensitive nature of the matter, however, said Adamu was expected back in the country on September 2.
The ministry’s spokesperson, Ben Goong, did not immediately respond to inquiries by The PUNCH as regards the details of the minister’s travels.
In a bid to end the strike, the Labour and Employment Minister, Chris Ngige, has led conciliatory meetings between the union and the government.
However, the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd), a few weeks ago, mandated Adamu to take over negotiations.
At a press briefing recently, Adamu noted that the government would not pay the union for the months it did not work and the union has, however, remained adamant.