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ASUU Rejects Govt’s N20 Billion Fund, Says It’s Mere ‘Tokenism’

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ASUU Rejects Govt’s N20 Billion Fund, Says It’s Mere ‘Tokenism’

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has described the N20b released by the Federal Government for the revitalisation of public universities as “too little, too late.”

The union insisted that what the government has done was to merely scratch the problems confronting tertiary education on the surface.

National president of the union, Prof Biodun Ogunyemi, Chairman University of Ibadan chapter, Prof Deji Omole and a national leader of the union, Prof Abiodun Aremu insisted that the N20b payment was unacceptable.

They recalled an earlier agreement and Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed with the government in 2013 where it promised to massively inject funds into public universities in the country to the tune of N1.3 trillion over a period of six years.

Ogunyemi said government had over the years succeeded in merely scratching on the surface, the problems confronting tertiary education in the country.

He said, “What government is trying to do is to go back to tokenism and this has always scratch the problems on the surface, tokenism is not acceptable to our members as a lasting solution to addressing the problems in our institutions.

What our members want to see is that now that government has shown commitment that it is ready to implement the MoU of 2013, it should go ahead and pay what is due for at least one year, which is N220b for revitalisation.

The demonstration of willingness would have ended in October last year, which was why I said the N20b is coming too late.

By our calculation and going by the MoU, government owes over 800b, how can it be paying N20b and there is fanfare about it?

Its something we expected government to have done quietly and not to make noise about it. That’s why I said too little, too late.”

“Our members have nothing to cheer about the N20b just released because we are not asking for tokenism; we are asking for a sustainable source of funding, a negotiated process of funding and a palliative approach to implementation of our agreement and memoranda.”

As a way out of the problem, the ASUU chief enjoined the government to go back to the MoU signed with the union and implement the memorandum action.

The duo of Omole and Aremu said government promised last year after they suspended the industrial action to release a one-year instalment of N220b and wondered how it came about N20b one year after.

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