Connect with us

Education

ASUU kicks as FG seeks to exclude state universities from pay-rise agreement

ASUU kicks as FG seeks to exclude state universities from pay-rise agreement

The industrial dispute between the Federal Government (FG) and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) may worsen following the insistence of the Federal Ministry of Education that its proposed agreement with the union will not be binding on state universities.

The spokesman for the Federal Ministry of Education, Ben Goong , in an interview with one of our correspondents in Abuja on Wednesday, explained that the Federal Government could not dictate to states on education as it is on the concurrent legislative list.

A committee led by the Pro-Chancellor of the Federal University of Lokoja, Prof. Nimi Briggs, had reportedly recommended a 180 per cent pay rise for lecturers, but the government was said to have favoured a 100 per cent increase.

It was gathered that the ministries of finance, education, labour and employment, Budget Office of the Federation, Office of the Head of Service of the Federation and the National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission were still working out the final details of the proposal.

The ASUU President, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, insisted that any agreement reached with the Federal Government would be binding on the states, thus opening another battle front between the union and the government.

The PUNCH reports that members of ASUU, including federal and state universities, had embarked on a strike on February 14, 2022.

Following the inability of the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige to resolve the strike, the President, major General Muhammdu Buhari (retd.), two weeks ago directed the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, to take over the negotiation with the ASUU leadership.

To compel a quick resolution of the crisis, the Nigeria Labour Congress held nationwide protests on July 26 and 27 in solidarity with the union.

However, ASUU on Monday extended the industrial action by another four weeks.

Responding to a question from The PUNCH on whether the proposed agreement would be binding on all universities in the country, Goong said, “The agreement between the Federal Government is not binding on state universities. Education is on the concurrent list, the Federal Government cannot tell states what to do when it comes to the management of their institutions.

“Any agreement made with ASUU is only binding on the institutions owned by the Federal Government. The state government will handle their own institutions.”

But reacting to the government’s position in an interview with The PUNCH on Wednesday, the ASUU president stated that the university system is a single entity, arguing further that there was no disparity between state and federal universities.

Osodeke said, “I don’t know who you spoke to but that person doesn’t know what he is saying. I can tell you that the renegotiation team is made up of pro-chancellors of state and federal universities. So, how can anyone say the agreement won’t be binding on state universities? The person doesn’t know what he is saying.”

The ASUU leader contended that the few institutions that did not join in the strike were not their members.

He also warned that Nigeria had just one university system and as such the issue of salary is personal to the union.

ASUU president

Osodeke stated, ‘‘Whenever ASUU is on strike, it is not about state ASUU or federal ASUU. We have one ASUU representing all universities in the country; those schools that are not participating in the strike are not our members.

‘‘The issue of salary should be left to the union to decide because when there was minimum wage adjustment, both federal and state schools were a part of it; even TETFund, it funds both state and federal institutions. Do we have a federal NUC or state NUC?

‘’The issue of salary negotiation is exclusive to the union. If a state can increase it, good; but we have one university system in Nigeria, and the state cannot even pay lesser than what the Federal Government is paying.’’

Commenting on the controversy, Ekiti State Commissioner for Information, Akin Omole, said on Wednesday that the state was not part of the ongoing negotiation between the FG and ASUU, hence, any agreement reached could not be binding on it as far as ASUU members in Ekiti State University were concerned.

Omole said, “If Ekiti State must have any dialogue at all, it can only be with the ASUU in EKSU. The ASUU negotiation with the Federal Ministry of Labour and Federal Ministry of Education is not done with the concurrence of Ekiti State Government. It is a national issue and it is the FG that is involved.

“With the principle of federalism, it is the employer and the employee that determine the pay. The salaries of workers in all states of the federation are not the same, then the issue is that what happens in another state cannot be binding on them.”

Likewise, the Benue State Commissioner of Information, Culture and Tourism, Michael Inalegwu said the state government was not involved in the ongoing negotiation between the FG and the university lecturers.

While acknowledging the lean resources of the state, the commissioner said that any agreement reached between the FG and ASUU may have serious consequences on the resources of the state but expressed optimism that both the state government and the state chapter of ASUU would reach a compromise.

He said, “The Benue State Government is not involved in the negotiation; whatever agreement they reached may not be binding on us because they are different structures.  But you should know that our state government places its lecturers in the state university at par with their counterparts at the federal level.”

Anambra govt

But the Anambra State Commissioner for Education, Prof. Ngozi Chuma-Udeh, said the state wass involved in the negotiations and would implement the outcomes.

She said, “We have a governor who takes education seriously and he is also a unionist. We are involved in the negotiations of the Federal Government with ASUU and anything they arrive at will be duly effected in Anambra.

“Whatever negotiations other states are into, Anambra is also in it; we are not backbenchers in matters that have to do with education and especially when it has to do with progressivism.”

Speaking with one of our correspondents, the Special Adviser to the Osun state Governor on Education, Jamiu Olawumi, said if the lecturers’ salary was reviewed, states would expect the FG to assist them in meeting the demand.

On his part, the Gombe State Commissioner for Higher Education, Meshack Lauco, said out of the eight demands highlighted by ASUU,  the state government had defaulted only in the earned allowances, adding that they had reached an agreement.

The Ogun State Government explained that it would wait for ASUU to present the agreement reached with the FG before it would commit itself to any arrangement.

The state Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, Prof. Abayomi Arigbabu said the government would need to know the nature of the arrangement first.

He said “The question is loaded, I cannot answer yes or no. I should know what I want to agree to. Education is on the concurrent legislative list. If it is acceptable, we can now see what to do.

“When they come back and see what we can do; immediately, we will always try to make sure we do something so that our institution will not be inferior to others. So, let’s see what they agreed on and see how to work it out.”

Meanwhile the National Association of Nigerian Students on Wednesday called for the resignation of the minister of education.

NANS in a statement in Abuja, said, “Since he became minister, ASUU has gone on strike for almost 18 months cumulatively and the entire educational structure of our tertiary education system is in total shambles under his watch.’’

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

16 + seven =

Education

FG hasn’t informed ASUU of cash crunch – Osodeke

FG hasn’t informed ASUU of cash crunch – Osodeke

Striking Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has said the government has not at any time indicated that it does not have money to fund the union’s demands and university education.

The union was reacting to recent comments by the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Mr Festus Keyamo; and Ebonyi State Governor, David Umahi, who said it was unreasonable for the Federal Government to borrow over N1 trillion to meet ASUU’s demands.

The PUNCH reports that ASUU has been on strike since February 14, 2022, after submitting its demands, which were being renegotiated by the Prof. Nimi Briggs committee set up by the Federal Government.

The strike enters its 180th day on Friday (today).

ASUU’s National President, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, in an interview with The PUNCH, described those saying the government had no money as interlopers who had no business in the affairs of ASUU and the government.

Osodeke said, “Do you believe the FG has no money? Is Umahi the FG? Has the Minister of Education said so? Has the Minister of Finance said so? If the person directed to resolve a matter has not said so when interlopers are saying things, who will you believe?

“When did Umahi become the spokesperson for the FG? They can borrow money for Trader Moni, they can borrow money to feed schoolchildren in schools, they can borrow to buy vehicles for Niger Republic, but they cannot borrow to fund education. We are tired too. If they want to close down all the universities formally, they should.”

When asked if ASUU would bend its demands so that the students could return to school, Osodeke insisted that the issue had to do with the government’s coming to the renegotiation table with ASUU.

“It is not about ASUU bending its demands; our demands are with the government. They should come to us with what they want. We don’t have to beg them. We agreed on something and let them send it to us. We have reached a negotiation. Let them come and tell us what they can do,” he said.

ASUU on leaders

Meanwhile, Osodeke, also on Thursday urged parents and students to vote out leaders that have made universities remain closed nationwide.

He spoke with journalists at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State, shortly after addressing the institution’s ASUU congress, which was also attended by lecturers from some other neighbouring universities.

Osodeke, who declared that ASUU would not relent in its bid to ensure better funding for universities, decried the Federal Government’s nonchalant attitude towards issues that concern education in the country.

“We also appeal to Nigerians. This matter concerns their lives. In the next five to six months, there will be an election. They should hold their PVCs, and all those who have subjected them to this, they should vote them out.

“It is their right. They should vote them out because children of the masses can’t be at home while children of those leaders will be enjoying education outside the country. That is their right and they should use their PVCs,” Sodeke concluded.

180th day

The PUNCH reports that ASUU strike enters its 180th day on Friday (today), making it one of the longest in the history of the country.

Osodeke said the plan was not to “suspend the strike but to end it permanently. We want to end strikes permanently in our universities, and that is our demand. That is our desire.”

The Programme Director, Reform Education Nigeria, Ayodamola Oluwatoyin, said, “It is a shame that the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has continued to set terrible records for itself, especially in the area of education. 2020 is still fresh in our memories when our schools were closed for close to one year.

“We have the same situation coming up in 2022. This should not be allowed to continue. We reject the plot to turn our undergraduates into out-of-school children.”

 

Continue Reading

Education

Resolve issues with ASUU now, vice-chancellors beg FG

Resolve issues with ASUU now, vice-chancellors beg FG

The Committee of Vice-Chancellors of Nigerian Universities (CVCNU) has said the government’s insistence that it does not have money to fund Nigerian universities is disheartening.

The PUNCH reports that the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Mr Festus Keyamo, had in an interview, said the government had no money to meet ASUU’s demands and would not go into borrowing.

Speaking in an interview with The PUNCH, on Tuesday, the chairman of CVCNU, Prof. Samuel Edoumiekumo, explained that the demands of ASUU were not for the union but for the rehabilitation of the universities, adding that what the government meant by that statement was that it did not have money to fund its own universities.

He said, “This issue of saying we don’t have money to put into the university system shouldn’t be. It is like the NEEDS assessment fund; it was not given to ASUU, it was given to the universities.

“When they say we don’t have funds, what they are saying is that ‘these universities are our own but we don’t have money to give. We don’t have money to pay for overhead to run the universities.’ I listened to Keyamo also. He is not even at the centre of the whole thing.”

Edoumiekumo added that he and other VCs in the country are not happy that the universities were closed down.

“I will not take whatever Keyamo says as the position of the government. We are not happy that our universities are closed down. I plead with both parties to amicably resolve the issues on the ground. I know the government and ASUU, especially the Ministry of Education, are working with national leaders of ASUU, but they have not finalised the reason they have not come out publicly,” he added.

He continued, “We are not happy that universities have been closed for this much time. It has been close to five months now. It affects the operations, and it disrupts the academic calendar, which has a negative effect on the operations of respective universities.

“Especially at those universities where their visitors are not funding the institutions, it is the little funding they get from students that they make use of.

“We are pleading with the government to look at the plight of students and lecturers in Nigerian universities to resolve the issue. If we decide to keep silent, we are prolonging evil days. With last year’s strike, we lost some academic sessions and it is affecting the economy.”

Continue Reading

Education

2022 WASSCE: WAEC Releases Results, Withholds 365,564

2022 WASSCE: WAEC Releases Results, Withholds 365,564

The 2022 West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) results have been released with those of 365,564 candidates in connection with various reported cases of examination malpractice withheld.

This was disclosed by the Head of National Office, West African Examinations Council (WAEC), Patrick Areghan during a briefing in Lagos on Monday.

Announcing the release of the results, he lamented that the students’ preparations for the examinations were poor, saying they were no longer ready to learn.

According to Areghan, 365,564 candidates represented 22.83% of the total number of candidates that sat the examination, adding that the number was 11.74% higher than the 10.9% recorded in the WASSCE for School Candidates, 2021.

“Reasons for this are not far-fetched.  Candidates are no longer ready to learn.  Preparations for examinations are poor,” he said.

“There is over-reliance on the so-called ‘Expo’, which is actually non-existent.  Candidates simply got frustrated when they got into the examination hall and discovered that all they had celebrated was fake.

“This has pitiably led to some of them failing the examination, which if they had relied on themselves and studied hard, would have passed like many others.”

Giving the performance analysis, the WAEC official explained that  88.04% of the candidates who sat the 2022 WASSCE obtained credit and above in a minimum of any five subjects (i.e with or without English Language and/ or Mathematics) and 76.36% obtained credits and above in a minimum of five subjects, including English Language and Mathematics.

Of the 1,607,981 candidates that registered for the examination from 20,222 recognised secondary schools in the country, Areghan said 1,601,047 candidates sat the examination.

He stated, “The analysis of the statistics of the performance of candidates in the examination shows that out of the 1,601,047 candidates that sat the examination, 1,409,529 candidates, representing 88.04%, obtained credit and above in a minimum of any five subjects (i.e with or without English Language and/ or Mathematics.

“1,222,505 candidates, representing 76.36%, obtained credits and above in a minimum of five subjects, including English Language and Mathematics.”

Areghan stressed that the results of candidates who were sponsored by states indebted to the Council would not be released until they pay up.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Trending