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ASUU strike: FG gives committee 3 months to renegotiate workable terms

“I failed,” says Adamu – So what should we do?

The federal government on Monday inaugurated a seven-man team to renegotiate the 2009 agreement with the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).

Adamu Adamu, Minister of Education, who inaugurated the reconstituted Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) Renegotiation Team in Abuja, gave the team three months to come up with realistic and workable terms of the 2009 FGN-ASUU Agreements to address the challenges in the university system.

The minister recalled that the re-negotiation of the 2009 Agreements between the Federal Government and the University-Based Staff Unions including ASUU, SSANU, NAAT & NASU commenced on Monday, 13th February 2017.

He , however, noted that due to a number of unforeseen circumstances, including but not limited to the COVID-19 pandemic, the exercise unfortunately, dragged on till now.

“There is no gain saying that the earnest desire of every stakeholder in the Nigerian University System (NUS) and, indeed, the nation at large is to conclude this re-negotiation exercise within the shortest possible period.

“Therefore, I wish to specially appeal to this reconstituted Committee to double its effort towards concluding the assignment and producing a realistic and workable draft Agreements that would holistically tackle the challenges confronting the Nigerian University System. and reposition it to effectively play its very important role in national development,” Adamu said.

Read also: ASUU Strike: Former Nigerian students recount ordeals

The committee, which is expected to review the draft proposed FGN/ASUU Agreement, has the following Terms of Reference: liaise and consult with relevant stakeholders to finalise the position of the Federal Government to the issues in the draft proposed FGN/ASUU Renegotiated Agreement; renegotiate in realistic and workable terms the 2009 agreements with other University-Based Unions; negotiate and recommend any other issue the Committee deems relevant to reposition the NUS for global competitiveness; Submit proposed draft agreements within three (3) months from the date of inauguration.

Alex Ekweme, chairman of the committee, who is also the pro-chancellor, Federal University Ndufu-Alike, Emeritus Briggs assured that the team will look into the draft document and come up sustainable solutions to stop incessant strike action by academic unions.

Meanwhile, Emmanuel Osodeke, the national president of ASUU, has tackled the Federal government over the reconstituted team stressing that the government has misplaced priorities.

“As far as we are concerned, we don’t know any team or have anything to do with any other team than the 2017 team and to continue from where we stopped. If the government has changed one or two persons from their team, that is their problem,” he had said.

ASUU has been on a one-month warning strike since February 14. One of the demands of the union is the non-payment of university revitalisation funds, which amounts to about N1.1 trillion. But the Minister of Labour, Chris Ngige has insisted that the federal government has no funds.

Other demands of the union border around adoption of the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS), non-payment of withheld salaries, checkoffs and promotion arrears among others.