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ASUU vows not to abandon strike

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The National President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, Dr. Nasir Fagge, on Thursday vowed that would continue its on-going strike until the union’s demands were met by the Federal Government.

Fagge made the declaration while addressing journalists at the University of Lagos on the latest development on the strike.

He said, “I wish to state clearly our position so far in the whole process of the negotiations with government since the strike commenced. We are currently calling on government to meet our demands as presented in the agreements we both signed in 2009 and then we can start talking about any other form of re-negotiation.

“A lot of people are asking us to shift grounds by accepting government’s offer of N30bn and going back to class while we reach an agreement on when the next instalments will be paid.

“I do not see that as being acceptable to us for now because we had made that mistake before, whereby only the salary component of the agreement was singled out and so we cannot afford to make such a mistake again.

“I want to make it categorically clear that until this whole agreement is fully implemented, we are not going to call off this strike.”

The university lecturers have since June 30 embarked on what they described as a “total, comprehensive and indefinite strike in public universities across the country.”

Members of the union had before now, been holding deliberations with representatives of government, headed by Governor Gabriel Suswam of Benue State on ways of resolving the strike.

Fagge explained that both the government and had presented their demands in 2006 and after three years of negotiations, the parties succeeded in reaching an agreement in 2009.

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According to the president, agreements are not negotiable and that is why the union is insisting on the implementation of the agreements.

He said that members of the union were determined to prosecute the strike to its logical conclusion.

Fagge said that the implementation of the agreement was a cardinal issue that must be accomplished by the union as this would give the much needed impetus for transforming the country’s ivory towers.

He noted that this would not only transform the universities but would equally make Nigeria visible on the global radar of development.

He stressed that the struggle was not just to re-position the education sector, particularly the university system, but to salvage the country.

He said that members of academia had taken it upon themselves to reposition the country, so that within the shortest possible time, Nigeria would find itself amongst the comity of nations that would be adjudged by the international community as developed.

Fagge, however, regretted that contrary to subsisting operational procedures, about 75 per cent of the fund meant for the revitalisation of the universities were not going to be released directly to the union.

He said that the Suswanm-led committee planned to hand it over to the National Universities Commission for implementation, saying that this was “unacceptable”.

“Until and unless the Suswam committee gives the union a guarantee that it will not serve as another means of recycling TETFUND money or divert funds meant for universities, representatives will not continue to participate in the deliberation of the committee,” he said.

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