ASUU signs agreement with Federal Government, to decide on strike in days

The ASUU leadership is to meet within a week to review the government’s offer and decide officially on the strike which began June 28. The government, on its part, is set up a committee to fully implement the agreement with the union.

Part of the agreement dwelt on funding of universities where both parties agreed that each federal university should get at least N1.5 trillion between 2009 and 2011 while state universities, within the same period, should receive N3.6 million per student.

The strike by ASUU followed government’s inability to keep to an October 2009 agreement reached by both parties.

The Nigerian government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, have reached an agreement, moving an inch closer to ending the five-month old strike by university lecturers.

The lecturers demand improved welfare and better funding for universities, and have consistently rejected the government’s plan to implement agreed terms in bits.

Universities have remained closed for months as both sides failed to agree on the implementation of terms reached in 2009. Both sides signed a Memorandum of Understanding Wednesday evening.

The agreement was reached after two years of negotiation between the lecturers and a government team appointed by the then Education Minister, Obiageli Ezekwesili.

The Government team was led by the then Pro-chancellor, University of Ibadan, Gamaliel Onosode while ASUU’s team was led by its then president, Abdullahi Sule-Kano.

The ASUU leadership is to meet within a week to review the government’s offer and decide officially on the strike which began June 28. The government, on its part, is set up a committee to fully implement the agreement with the union.

The National President of ASUU, Nasir Fagge, represented ASUU while education minister, Nyesom Wike, represented the federal government.

The agreement was signed by Bolanle Babalakin, the then chairman of Committee of Pro-Chancellors of Federal Universities; Gamaliel Onosode, chairman of the re-negotiation committee; and Ukachukwu Awuzei, the then president of ASUU.

Text of the suggested amendment bills – including suggestion for amendment of the Education (National Minimum Standards and Establishment of Institutions) Act 2004 – were provided in the agreements.

It included details such as the breakdown of lecturers’ salary structure, staff loans, pension, overtime, and moderation of examinations.

The agreement reached at the negotiations included conditions of service for university lecturers, funding of universities, university autonomy and academic freedom, and issues that required legislation to implement.

Wednesday’s agreement came a day after the presidency presented a proof of payment of N200 billion into an account with the Central Bank of Nigeria as part of funding to offset the lecturers’ demands.

The agreement also had parts that asked the re-negotiation committee to ensure that at least 26 percent of Nigeria’s annual budget was allocated to education, and half of that allocation to universities.

The agreement also asked that the 2004 Joint Admission and Matriculation Board, JAMB, Act, and the National University Commission Act 2004, be amended.

The agreement demanded a heavy financial commitment from the government and was an adaptation of an earlier agreement reached in 2001.

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