ASUU strike: FG to meet varsity
The Federal Government will before Sunday meet
with university councils and vice-chancellors to
update them on some of the decisions it had
reached in its bid to end the ongoing strike by the
Academic Staff Union of Universities.
The Chairman of the National Economic
Empowerment Development Strategy Assessment
Implementation Committee of the universities,
Governor Gabriel Suswam, made this known on
Tuesday after President Goodluck Jonathan met
behind closed doors with key officials of his
administration over the almost two months’ old
The officials included Vice-President Namadi
Sambo; the Secretary to the Government of the
Federation, Senator Pius Anyim; the Chief of Staff to
the President, Chief Mike Oghiadome; the Minister
of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala; the Minister of
Education, Prof. Ruqqayat Rufa’i; and the Minister of
Labour, Chief Emeka Wogu.
ASUU, however, said shortly after the meeting ended
that the strike would not be called off because the
Federal Government was not sincere in its efforts to
end the dispute.
It was learnt that the Tuesday meeting afforded the
government officials taking part in the negotiations
with the striking university teachers the opportunity
to brief the President on the latest development.
Suswam, who is also the governor of Benue State,
told State House correspondents after the meeting
that substantial progress had been made in the
He expressed the hope that the strike would be
called off soon based on some of the mechanisms
that had been put in place to move university
The governor said while the issues surrounding the
NEEDS assessment had been concluded to some
extent, those bordering on the earned allowance
component being handled by the SGF were pending.
Suswam said, “As you must have heard, the Federal
Government made an offer of N30bn to assist the
various councils of our universities to be able to pay
the earned allowances.
“There is also N100bn and that is why the Minister of
Finance, the SGF, the ministers of education and
labour as well as the Chief of Staff, the VP and
myself have just risen from a meeting to take some
decisions that would end the strike soon. The
President has instructed us on what to do and he
has shown a lot of commitments by starting a
project worth about N100bn in all the universities in
about 61 universities in the country.
“So we are hoping that we will be able to see the end
of the strike very soon if at the end of the day, ASUU
is satisfied with the measures that we have so far
“The Federal Government will also be meeting with
the university councils and vice-chancellors of our
universities within the week towards updating them
on some of the decisions taken.”
The governor added that the meeting with the
varsity councils was necessary because earned
allowances had to be certified by the management
and councils of the universities.
He said since the Federal Government had offered to
assist the councils with N30bn, it was important for
them to go and verify and pay the people who are
actually entitled to the allowances.
“I think that the government had demonstrated some
substantial faith . Yes, if ASUU said that this is the
amount of money that the Federal Government is
owing them and the government has shifted ground
from its initial posture, it means we are moving
forward. With a N100bn available now for addressing
the physical infrastructure deficit in our universities, I
think the Federal Government has done quite well to
have moved to where we are today,” he added.
But ASUU has said after the meeting which held in
Jonathan’s office in the Presidential Villa, that the
Federal Government was only using propaganda to
curry public support rather than facing the issues
raised by it.
A member of the National Executive Council of ASUU,
Dr. Nasir Adesola, told one of our correspondents on
the telephone that theN30bn offered to the striking
lecturers as earned allowances was even worse
than “where we were before the deadlocked
meeting on Monday.”
The government, he said, had not shown enough
commitment towards the settlement of the conflict.
According to him, the government only offered N30bn
without saying anything on when the balance of the
earned allowances would be paid.
He also said that the declaration by the government
that it had approved N100bn for the development
of infrastructure in the universities was a mere
Meanwhile, the All Progressives Congress has
asked the government to honour its agreement with
ASUU in order to end the strike which began on July
The APC, in a statement on Tuesday by its Interim
National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed,
said ASUU’s demand for N87bn was not open to
The statement reads, ”The N87bn that ASUU is
demanding represents earned allowances hence
cannot be renegotiated.
“In any case, this amount pales into insignificance
when placed side by side the N1tr that has been
spent on federal legislators in the past eight years; or
the frivolity involved in a government minister
travelling to China to negotiate a $1bn loan in a
chartered jet (with its attendant costs) and with a
retinue of officials who earned generous estacode in
It said ASUU was not making any fresh demand
beyond the agreement it reached with the
government in 2009.
“Agreements are meant to be honoured, and
breaching them comes with some consequences,”
the statement added.
The party said while the Federal Government refused
to honour its own side of the agreement with ASUU
since 2009, “it could pay out N3tn in non-existent
fuel subsidies to fat cats”.
It added that in place of ASUU strike, the Federal
Government preferred to spend N1tn annually “to
maintain the jets in the Presidential fleet and do little
or nothing to prevent the stealing of 400,000 barrels
of crude oil per day.”
It condemned the “non-chalance” of those who
should be working round the clock to resolve the
crisis, especially the Minister of State for Education,
The APC claimed that instead of focusing on the
problem, Wike “was launching vigilance groups and
dancing ‘palongo’ around town when the nation’s
public universities are shut and students are
Reacting, Wike’s Special Assistant on Media, Simeon
Nwakaudu, said “no administration has impacted on
education like the Jonathan administration.”
He said Wike had actively participated in the process
of resolving the ASUU crisis, with the Federal
Government team led by the SGF
ASUU strike: FG to meet varsity