ASUU Strike: zonal leaders meet to discuss FG’s offers today

The Academic Staff Union of Universities will meet on Monday (today) to deliberate on the offers made by the Federal Government last Thursday in Abuja.

It was gathered on Sunday that the union would meet at zonal levels nationwide, where the members would determine whether to accept the offers made to them or not.

It was learnt the union would take a position on the ongoing strike which had paralysed academic activities in state and federal universities.

The Chairman, UNIAbuja chapter of ASUU, Dr. Ben Ugheoke, confirmed that the union would hold a crucial meeting on the labour action.

He explained that after the zonal meetings, the decisions would then be communicated to the national executive council of the union which would take a final position on the issues.

“After the zonal meetings on Monday, the outcomes of the meetings would go through another process before a final decision is taken, it is a tortuous process,” Ugheoke explained.

The Federal Government had during the meeting with the ASUU leadership in Abuja offered to pay N23bn and a monthly payment of N1.5bn pending the outcome of the forensic audit being carried out by the Ministry of Finance.

The government had also yielded to other demands by the ASUU leadership led by its President, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, Vice-President, Emmanuel Osodeke, a former union president, Dr. Dipo Fashina, and another member.

The government team led by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, was said to have rejected the union’s demand for exemption of universities from the Treasury Single Account.

Meanwhile, ASUU has dismissed a statement credited to a former Minister of Education, Oby Ezekwesili, in which she said the union’s demands were unrealistic.

The UNIAbuja ASUU Chairman said she should propose realistic alternatives rather than condemn the union’s demands which he said were meant to reform university education in the country.

Ugheoke explained that the N1.3tn university revitalisation fund would not go to ASUU, noting that the union had proposed to the government how the money should be utilised to ensure it did not end in private pockets.

The university teacher said when Ezekwesili was trying to get the government to privatise the unity schools as the education minister; she hinged her argument on the poor state of the schools.

He wondered why she was condemning ASUU’s demands which he described as “agitations for the poor.”

He said, “What is unrealistic about ASUU’s demands? It means she was engaged in cheap deceit of the highest order, she is unrealistic.

“Let her state those demands she feels are unrealistic and then propose alternatives and you would see that she would propose no alternatives other than raising of school fees. That is what she is going to come up with.”

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