5th December, 2013
Three days after the federal government announced that it had paid the N200billion university infrastructure renewal fund into an account in the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, as demanded by the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, the union is yet to be formally notified of the payment.
Disclosing this on a television programme today, a Professor of Counselling and Psychology at the University of Lagos, Professor Ngozi Osaweren, said as at this morning, the federal government has not deemed it fit to formally communicate the payment of the money to ASUU.
The Professor said she made phone calls to the leadership of the union to find out if the government had officially notified the union of the payment, the reply was negative.
She accused the government of not being sincere, adding that the government should formally communicate the union on the payment of the money, if it was sure.
The university lecturer accused the government of berating ASUU and taking it for granted.
The ASUU President Dr. Nasir Fagge-Issa had in an interview asked the government to formally communicate to the union that the money had been paid in the CBN as demanded by the union. He predicated the suspension of the strike on government replying a letter written by ASUU to government on 25 November.
Also commenting on the issue, the Secretary of ASUU in Lagos State University, Comrade Adeyemi Suenu, described the purported payment as a gimmick, adding that government is just buying time by trying to paint the lecturers as the problem of the universities.
“The whole payment of N200 billion into CBN account is all gimmicks which the government has not been able to prove with a documented evidence.”
“If the government paid to CBN account, it should release the account number for the populace to see. Moreover, why should two parties be involved in an agreement and one party goes ahead to fulfil its part without the knowledge of the other,” he asked.
The Secretary said it is very important for Nigerians to understand this present government and the way it builds up sentiments without doing its responsibilities.
“We need to understand this government of deceit, they threatened to sack us if we don’t resume on the 4 December. Now it has been postponed to 9th of this month, one thing is certain, if FG does not fulfil its part of the agreement in the right and acceptable manner, ASUU will not betray the educational sector by calling off the strike without achieving anything.
“We have committed more than enough to this struggle to be cowed by sentiments, our position remains that government fulfil its part of the deal,” he declared.
Chairman, University of Lagos Chapter of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, Dr. Karo Ogbinaka, has accused the supervising Minister of Education, Nyesom Wike, of incompetence in the handling of the Ministry.
Ogbinaka, in a chat with PMNEWS, in Lagos, western Nigeria, blamed the protracted industrial disputes by federal and state-owned universities on Wike’s inability to resolve the issues. The Philosophy lecturer flayed the Education Minister for leaking a letter by ASUU leadership on its demands to President Goodluck Jonathan to the press, without the latter seeing it first.
“We sent letter to the government through Wike and instead of forwarding the letter to the President, he leaked it to the press and started making all types of comments he could make in this world. We found in Wike somebody who talks and reasons later,” he said. Short of calling Mr. Wike’s action a blackmail, Ogbinaka said he misinformed the public that ASUU had made fresh demands as conditions for stopping the strike.
“I doubt if Wike has the patience to even read the documents presented to him and that is what has landed us in the situation we are in. If it was not for him, the ASUU strike was as good as resolved. Wike is clearly incapable by every standard,” Ogbinaka stated.
The ASUU chieftain faulted Wike’s retention in the Ministry of Education after the sack of Professor Rukayyat Rufa’i Akali, former Minister of Education.
He frowned at President Jonathan’s choice of Wike. “We understand what led to the removal of the former education minister, Professor Rukayyat Rufa’i and, if in a football match, the referee sacks your goalkeeper, what a reasonable coach would do is to sacrifice a player to bring in another goalkeeper. I think the President should have reshuffled his cabinet the moment key ministers were removed, but unfortunately he left Wike as supervising Minister of Education,” Ogbinaka said.
Meanwhile, Senior Presidential aide, Doyin Okupe, Wednesday, in Abuja, confirmed to journalists the proof of deposit of N200 billion into a designated Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN account. Okupe named the special account as “Revitalization of Universities Infrastructure Account,” with reference number FD/OAGF/220/ADC/1/4DF, while modalities on its proportional disbursements to the institutions were being worked out.
However, ASUU said it has not been officially notified.
But Ogbinaka assured that ASUU had resolved to call a National Executive Council, NEC, meeting to annul the strike once the government met its demands.
—Folarin Ademosu & Sulaimon Mojeed-Sanni