AS the face-off between the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU and the Federal Government continues, the union, yesterday, asked government to provide concrete evidence of the payment of at least N50billion revitalisation fund to end the strike.
Though, other demands of the union, are still pending, the union said the proof of the payment could set the tone for the suspension of the strike. Speaking through its President, Professor Biodun Ogunyemi in Ibadan at the weekend, the union said the Federal Government had made mockery of promises by not fulfilling them noting that what the members of the academic union want at the moment is implementation.
Ogunyemi said: “We want them to pay immediately N50billion as a sign of commitment this quarter and for the next three-quarters government can pay N50billion in each quarter. So our members have rejected the 20billion proposed by them that will be spread over two quarters in 2019. Our members have insisted on the release of at least N50billion. “In relation to earned academic allowances which they have an outstanding N105billion our members are saying that even if you (Government) are releasing N20billion let it be stated clearly that it is only for ASUU members and the balance which you promised to pay in four installments, attach timelines to the balance and figures. “In 2017, this government promised to mainstream the earned academic allowances into the budget so that we won’t be coming to talk about arrears. “If government had put that into the 2018 budget, we would not be talking about arrears now. Our members are saying government should take steps to mainstream it into the 2019 budget and that is not late because they (National assembly and executive) are still working on the budget.” He reasoned that if ASUU had been docile, the university system would have been destroyed like the public primary and secondary schools. Prof Ogunyemi said: “Those peddling the falsehood are the same ruling class. They have forgotten that we lecturers also have our children in public universities. They want to weaken the public university education so that children of the poor will continue to suffer. We will not allow them to mess up the university education.”