The National President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, Professor Biodun Ogunyemi, has revealed what the Federal Government must do now for the strike to be called off next week.
He said that after due consultations with its executives across the country, they have resolved to continue the ongoing strike until the Federal Governments pays at least N220 billion out of N1.1 trillion it owed the public universities.
He said that universities lecturers had rejected the Federal Government offer of money to end the strike because it was far from their demands.
The lecturer confirmed that the Federal Government had, through the office of the Accountant-General of the Federation and the Ministry of Finance presented to the union the evidence of the payment of N15.4 billion to universities last Tuesday.
He said, “We agreed to go back to our members in order to show to them that we are a difficult union. Why ASUU strike shouldn’t be the last option -Parents
“We will communicate our position to the Federal Government this week, if our demands are met, we will call off the strike.
“We have shifted ground from N1.1 trillion to N220 billion that will cover for three quarters in 2019.”
He told Vanguard that the union was ready to call off the strike next week if the federal government paid the N220 billion.
“We have already shifted ground. We presented five tranches payment to the federal government. If we made request for five tranches of N1.1 trillion and they are not ready to give one, that shows they are the ones not ready to shift grounds.
“For the earned allowances of the teachers, we have shifted grounds. What we were asking for was the payment for the balance, based on the forensic audit reports of government. Now they are proposing to pay in four installments .
“What they agreed to pay initially was a token and our members are saying they have gone beyond a tokenism .These are the issues that are critical to the situation.”
Speaking on the impact of the strike on February elections, Ogunyemi added, “ASUU strike has nothing to do with the February elections.
“We have being on these issues since 2016, it’s not something new. Government is aware of the Memorandum of Understanding it signed with us since 2016, therefore nobody should come and say in 2018 that we are after the elections.
“We want people to know that our position has nothing to do with election . We have always draw a line between ASUU struggle and elections.
“If they know they are banking on students to use for election, then let them do what they ought to do. If they do what we asked them to do, our member can take decision this coming week and the matter would be resolved.
“They should not tie our resumption to their elections because they saw it coming. We have been serving our notice since 2016.
“In 2017, when we came back, we gave ourselves six months and nothing happened. For somebody to turn round now to say that we targeted their election, no.
“We have been having meetings with the organs of the union and even people from government side have spoken with us and we have told them the minimum. For five tranches, we are saying let them release one tranche so that the one tranche could be spread over one year, over four quarters in 2019. That is fair enough.”