ASUU: We are not aware of any N200 billion
The President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) Dr. Nasir Fagge Issa, this morning disclosed that his union was not aware of the payment of N200b into an account with the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, by the Federal Government, as demanded by the striking lecturers.
Dr. Doyin Okupe, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs had on a television programme this morning declared that government had paid the N200b demanded by ASUU into an account with the CBN and asked why ASUU has not deemed it fit to call off the six-month old strike.
Dr. Issa said if this is true, then the government should formally communicate this to ASUU so that the union can inform its members on the latest development and decide on whether to call off the strike or not.
The ASUU President who also spoke on Channels Television, queried the Federal Government for not formally communicating the opening of an account credited with the sum of N200 billion in the Central Bank to the union.
Noting that ASUU operates as a democratic institution, Fagge revealed that the union “requested that once that is done (bank account opening) and the committee that is supposed to disburse the funds start working, our members will have no reason not to suspend the strike action.”
He insisted that the “most important part of this thing at this point is that let there be documentation.”
He said the union is insisting on documentation for the fear of not having to re-embark on another action “for government not meeting the requirement, particularly the promises Mr. President has made.”
“Why won’t government make available this money so that we know the money is there and the universities commence drawing from this money to address the problem of decay in infrastructure, teaching and research facilities? When that is done, our members will suspend the strike,” he promised.
He berated the fact that other unions had to re-embark on the strike actions due to the failure of the Federal Government to keep to promises made to the striking unions.
Debunking claims that the ASUU is not speaking with one voice, Fagge maintained: “Our members do not play a role in closing or opening universities, if the university administration decides to open a university, they can go ahead and do that” noting that “it is their own responsibility.”
“Our members will not be there to teach,” he insisted.
Fagge expressed disappointment in the way a previous memoranda signed by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education and authored by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation was “disowned virtually by government,” explaining the reason behind the union’s request that a person higher than the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education sign the recent document, and not necessarily the Attorney-General of the Federation.
Fagge revealed that members of the union also have children in the closed universities, adding that many members of the union are also students pursuing their Ph.d, MSc, MA degrees.
He refuted the claim that the opposition had infiltrated the ranks of the union and charged the Federal Government to sort the issues on ground and the union will suspend the strike.