According to reports, the Federal Government on Tuesday denied breaching the 2009 agreement it signed with the Academic Staff Union of Nigerian Universities (ASUU), admitting however the slow pace of its implementation which it said was caused by the current economic realities.
A senior director in the Federal Ministry of Education, who pleaded anonymity and having participated in the negotiation and the signing of the agreement between ASUU and Federal Government, said government has demonstrated good faith overtime in the implementation of the agreement, and that the slow pace of implementation is as a result of the current economic challenges facing the country.
She also debunked the insinuations by ASUU that only 30 percent of the agreement have so far been implemented, saying it should be at 60 percent level.
On the issue of earned allowance, she said government released the sum of N30 billion out of the N93 billion ASUU had demanded and that the union alongside the Vice Chancellors could not even account for the disbursement of the amount released when an Interim management committee was instituted to investigate and submit reports, thereby forcing government to opt for a forensic audit of the disbursement.
On the NUPEMCO issue, she said that government has in addition to requesting PENCOM to waive the sum of N200m and ensuring that the union raises the N1b mandatory take off share capital, it had equally directed PENCON to issue ASUU the certificate of registration so that the company can start operations but that the union’s inability to form board of directors to the company has remained the bane.
She said: ’’ASUU is hiding the truth from Nigerians; they should explain why they are yet to constitute board of directors to NUPEMCO. Why were they unable to account for the disbursement of the N30b earned allowance given to them by government?
When contacted, the University of Abuja (UNIABUJA) branch chairman of ASUU, Dr. Ben Ugheoke, dismissed the claims by government, saying ASUU did not participate in the sharing of the N30b released arbitrarily by government to the Vice Chancellors, as it had no empirical basis.
On the NUPEMCO issue, the UNIABUJA ASUU boss however admitted receiving a letter from Government directing PENCON to issue the union a PFA registration certificate to enable it function but that in compliance to the 2009 agreement, it is the duty of government to ensure that the certificate is delivered to ASUU.
Recall that ASUU has been persistently accusing the Federal Government of breaching the 2009 agreement both parties had signed, warning that it might embark on nationwide strike if the breach lingers.