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ASUU REJECTS OBI'S OFFER

By NBF News
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The different unions in the Anambra State University, (ANSU) have rejected a 50 per cent pay increment offered by the Anambra State government in a bid to end their three-month old strike.

The Governing Council of the university led by Prof. Elochukwu Amucheazi had made the offer to the unions at a meeting in Awka on Friday where he said that the state government had agreed to increase the subventions to the state-owned university to enable students and workers go back to school.

The government, Sunday Sun gathered offered to increase the monthly subvention to the university by N31 million, and proposed a salary increment of 50 per cent, an offer that did not go down well with the striking unions.

Speaking after the meeting, Prof Amucheazi said that the state government's gesture was part of the peace process to bring the striking unions back to school especially in the south east.

He did not say much about generating revenue internally in the school to help the school run its academic calendar without strike. Instead he said that the university will consider increasing school fees.

But the chairman of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, Anambra State University chapter, Dr. Jaja Nwanegbo, who was in the meeting at Awka on Friday said the offer was not anything to write home about.

According to Dr. Nwanegbo, 'we do not have the mandate to negotiate. We shall report back to the national body (of ASUU)'.

The Chairman of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities, Mr. Vincent Asoegwu, also confirmed the position of the unions to Sunday Sun. He said the unions have different bodies negotiating on their behalf.

Reacting to the rejection of the offers by the unions, the Special Assistant to the Governor on Media, Mr. Valentine Obienyem, said it would appear that the unions have a hidden agenda adding that '…the governor will at all times work within the resources of the state. When he came in, the subvention was N15 million. Now council has increased it to N45 million and increased salary by 50 per cent. And they are adamant.

'I don't want to believe some people who are saying the strike is politically motivated. With this development, one can well imagine if those who say so are right.'

The unions have been on strike for three months now and are asking for the implementation of the new salary scale determined by the Federal Government and the unions as well as improved funding of the universities.

While the government has said it has no funds to pay what the unions were asking for, the unions asked the governor to source money from his security vote, which they say is 10 times the subvention government handed to the universities.

They however maintained that they would not accept the suggestion by government to raise tuition fees, stressing that the economic condition of the people do not encourage the proposed increase in tuition fees.