The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has demanded the full release of 495 billion Naira, being the funds needed to revamp Nigeria’s universities, as contained in an agreement entered into with the Federal Government seven years ago.
The union said that the government had consistently reneged on the agreement.
According to ASUU, the government’s technical committee, which reviewed downwards ASUU’s 1.5 trillion Naira estimate needed to lift the tertiary institutions from their current rot, to about 800 billion Naira.
ASUU’s Zonal Coordinator, Professor Beke Sese, on Thursday told reporters in a press conference in Yenagoa, the capital of Bayelsa State, that aside the initial tranche that was eventually released in 2013, the government had refused to credit a dedicated account with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) set up for that purpose.
ASUU’s interaction with the press, also coincided with the suspension of a four-month sit-at-home industrial action embarked upon by the lecturers at the state-
owned Niger Delta University (NDU) over unpaid salaries.
However, the State government after reaching an agreement with the NDU branch of the academic union to pay two months of the owed salaries,
convinced them of the need to end the strike and return to the classrooms.
Professor Sese, also bemoaned the non-payment of the university lecturers’ Earned Academic Allowances, staff salaries, the arbitrary removal and appointment of vice chancellors in federal institutions and the introduction of the Treasury Single Account into the university system.
Added to these, he said, was the need to renegotiate the 2009 agreement, amend the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), National Universities Commission (NUC) and National Minimum Standards and Establishment of Institutions Act 2004 and have an audience with President Muhammadu Buhari, whom he said had been difficult to see one-on-one.
“The ASUU and Federal Government 2009 agreement provided an estimated cost of 1.518 billion Naira for the revitalisation of federal universities and 3.680 million Naira per student in the state universities between 2009 and 2011,” he told reporters.
However, the government said it needed to conduct a NEEDS assessment to determine how the funds would be utilised.
This ASUU demand is coming at a period that the government’s revenue has continued to drop due to resurgence of militant activities in the Niger Delta region which houses most of the nation’s crude oil facilities and the drop in the price of crude oil.