For the umpteenth time the academic calendar of the nation’s university education system has been brought to a halt due to the industrial action embarked upon since July 1 by members of the Academic Staff Union of the Universities (ASUU). This time it is over the inability of the Federal Government to implement the 2009 joint agreement reached by both parties.
ASUU claims that the university lecturers are owed some N87 billion. While the federal authorities do not dispute the claim, they have put on the table the sum of N30 billion, in addition to another N400 billion set aside for infrastructural development in the universities.
The government has also promised to start disbursing the money as from next month and has in fact released a N100 billion intervention fund to the implementation committee of the Universities’ Needs Assessment Report, headed by the Benue State governor, Gabriel Suswam.
Unfortunately, that was not enough to assuage the university lecturers whose National President, Dr. Nasir Isa Fagge, has vowed that ASUU would not suspend its strike until its demands were totally met. Among other things, the lecturers demand that the government stick to the terms of the 2009 agreement which stipulated the allocation of a minimum of 26 percent of the nation’s annual budget to the education sector and that at least 50 percent of this 26 percent be allocated to Universities; making the funds for education a first line charge in the Constitution; provision by the federal government of general assistance to state governments for their universities and other academic institutions of higher learning. They also demand that the Education Tax Fund (ETF) should revert to its original concept as Higher Education Fund.
Read more at allAfrica.com.