December 10, 2013 | General News
ASUU: CBN Confirms Deposit Of N200bn Varsities Infrastructure Funds
SAN FRANCISCO, December 10, (THEWILL) - As the strike by universities lecturers in the country continues to linger despite the ultimatum given by the Federal Government for the striking lecturers to resume, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Tuesday said it is in possession of the N200billion universities infrastructure funds requested from the government to end the strike. The money was agreed with the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) at a meeting with President Goodluck Jonathan on November 5. Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, Dr Doyin Okupe, made the CBN letter available to newsmen in Abuja on Tuesday. In the letter signed by the Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr Tunde Lemo, and addressed to the Accountant General of the Federation, the apex bank confirmed that the total sum of N200billion is the balance in the account as required. The letter titled, Confirmation of the Execution of Your Mandate For The Credit of Account on Revitalisation of Universities Infrastructure Account indicate that the sum was paid in three tranches of N129,300,000,000,00k; N20,700,000,000,00k and N50,000,000,000,00k into the account as directed. While reiterating that the President is fully committed to the implementation of agreements reached with ASUU, Okupe said a Needs Assessment Implementation Committee which has representatives of ASUU on board will be inaugurated on Wednesday in order to fast track the utilisation of the released funds and tackle infrastructural deficiency in the university system. Okupe said the Federal Government has received a number of representations from eminent Nigerians and stakeholders on the need to temper justice with mercy regarding the ultimatum issued to the striking lecturers to resume work or face stiff sanctions. ' Government appreciates the fact that a number of Universities have either resumed academic activities or announced resumption dates in line with the directives earlier issued by the Committee of Pro Chancellors. 'We appreciate the fact that many chapters of ASUU have resumed work and many more will follow suit shortly. Government is only desirous of normalcy in the educational sector in view of the importance of this sector to the society. Now that evidence has been provided as to the availability of the sum of N200billion for immediate disbursement to universities, we expect that ASUU will call off this strike so that normalcy will fully return to our campuses. 'This is the only honorable path for our distinguished academics in the present instance,' Okupe said. He added that the Federal Government does not intend to victimise anyone who participates in a legitimate strike action in view of the fact that Nigeria is a signatory to the International Labour Organisation (ILO) convention which guarantees workers' rights to strikes convened in line with due processes.