Daily Metro News NG
The Federal Government on Thursday agreed to release the sum of N20 billion for the revitalisation of Nigeria’s public universities until the Ministry of Education request for additional funding after exhausting the available fund.
Federal Government also agreed to pay N30 billion as Earned Academic Allowance to the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to call off their strike.
The money is expected to be paid in tranches between May 2021 and February 2022, while the N30 billion is for all unions in public universities in the country.
These payments were part of the agreements reached at Thursday’s meeting between federal government, led by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige.
The meeting however failed to reach an agreed point on the digital payment system of the Integrated Personnel Payroll System (IPPIS).
ASUU insisted that the shortfall of salaries of its members be paid through the Government Integrated Financial Management Information System (GIFMIS) until its University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) was fully operational but the Federal Government team refused.
The meeting, which started around 3:15pm, was still ongoing as of the time of this report.
The meeting had a break of about 30 minutes to allow ASUU deliberate and consider government offers.
The government team was led by Ngige, his Minister of State, Festus Keyamo and others while ASUU delegation was led by its President, Prof Biodun Ogunyemi.
Ngige expressed his optimism of a fruitful outcome of their meeting before the meeting went into closed session.
Ngige said; “For the past one week, we have all been on our toes, we have been meeting and we pray that this meeting will yield some good fruits. We don’t take very great pleasure, to the fact that the children who are supposed to be in school are being recruited into the #EndSARS, #EndStrike, #EndSWAT and all the kind of situations.
“As much as possible, we will try to see how we can meet ourselves halfway, so that we can resolve this crisis to the benefits of all and the country at large.”
Ogunyemi said there was need for everyone to look at the issues affecting the university system as a national emergency in the country.
He commended the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, Ngige and Accountant-General of the Federation Idris Ahmed among others for making it possible for the discussion.
Ogunyemi said; “We came here with an open mind and at the same time we need to put it on record that our members out there expect much from this meeting.”
Recall, ASUU had commenced this present indefinite strike on March 23, 2020 citing failure on the part of the federal government to honour the Memorandum of Action it signed in 2019.