Govt yet to honour agreement with us, ASUU cries out

By The Citizen

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has alleged that the Federal Government is back on its familiar turf of refusing to keep to the terms of an agreement.

Nearly two months into the latest pact that saw the end of a strike which paralysed activities in the country's university system for more than five months, ASUU claimed at the weekend that government has started to drag its feet again on the implementation of the agreement the two parties entered into.

It would be recalled that the last ASUU strike was declared on July 1, 2013 following non-implementation of a 2009 agreement the Federal Government signed with the union.

Speaking at a 'Thank You' parley with newsmen at the University of Ibadan, ASUU National Treasurer, Ademola Aremu, said part of the agreement before the strike was suspended was that government would be releasing N20 billion at the beginning of each quarter to cater for areas of needs identified in the needs assessment carried on universities but that 'this is February and the government is yet to release the money for the quarter'.

Aremu, who spoke at the gathering on behalf of ASUU President, Nasir Fagge, said the union had to start shouting from now to avoid the embarrassment the last strike caused the nation and its education system.

Describing the strike as needless but inevitable, Aremu recalled that if the government had been sincere with its part of the bargain, academic activities would not be disrupted as it often was the case when lecturers go on strike.

'All the strikes ASUU had embarked upon in this country were basically because the FG has failed to honour agreements freely entered to with us.

'It is also sad that before we begin each of those strikes, we would give the government enough warnings and grace to make them retrace their steps, but they always fail.

'We don't know why the government is always unwilling to implement the documents signed by their representatives. However, we will continue to fight for the system because if the system collapses we will collapse with it,' Aremu stated.

While welcoming members of the press to the gathering, ASUU chairman at UI, Olusegun Ajiboye, said it was unfortunate that successive governments in Nigeria don't learn from history, as they always wait till major standoff with their members before doing the needful.

He expressed appreciation to the Nigerian media for standing by ASUU during the struggle, adding that the support was not really for the lecturers, but for a better Nigeria, adding that 'the strike would not have recorded the level of success it did if the press did not stand by the lecturers'.

He, however, said the struggles were not over yet, adding that journalists must see it as duty to monitor proper disbursement of monies promised to be injected into the university system and urged that journalists must ensure that every money was used for the purpose it is meant.

'You must also challenge us to justify the fruit of the fight. When we are going astray, please don't keep quiet, that is your mandate as the Fourth Estate of the Realm,' he said.

The ASUU chieftain also charged journalists to take deeper interest in the crisis rocking the Ibadan-based Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria (CRIN), where, he said, the management was treating the staff in an unfair manner.