Federal Govt Has Fulfilled Its Part With Striking University Workers – Ngige

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen. Chris Ngige, says the Federal Government has fulfilled its part of an agreement reached with the striking non-academic staff of federal universities on Sept. 20.

This was revealed in a statement signed by Mr Samuel Olowookere, the Deputy Director of Press in the ministry on Tuesday, Ngige said the government had also fully complied with the implementation timelines of the agreement.

The university workers began the strike on Monday under the aegis of Joint Action Committee (JAC) made up of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU), Non-Academic Staff Union (NASU) and National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT).

They are protesting the sharing formula of the N23 billion released by the Federal Government for the settlement of earned allowances.

In the sharing formula, non-academic staff were allocated 11 per cent of the N23 billion as against 89 per cent for academic staff in the universities.

The minister asked them to call off the strike and make a fresh case in respect of their reservation concerning the disbursement of the N23 billion, which he said was the first item on the Sept. 20 agreement.

Ngige said it was important for Nigerians to be informed that the federal government had fully fulfiled its part of the agreement.

He stated that the government could not be blamed for what the unions term “skewed disbursement formula” for the money.

“As I speak, the Federal Government has fully implemented the major contemporary issues such as payment of shortfalls, registration with PENCOM, among others, in the agreement.

“The only grievance the unions have today is that the modality for the disbursement of the N23 billion released by the Federal Government for the settlement of earned allowances is skewed against them.

“But I advised them during the negotiation to call off their strike when it entered the fifth day and quickly forward their own template for accessing the N23 billion meant for the academic and non-academic staff of the universities, since the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) had already submitted theirs.

“They bluntly refused and dragged the strike for weeks,” Ngige said.

He, however, said nothing had been lost, and urged the unions to make fresh case for inclusion in the 2018 budget, adding that the government was willing to address the issue.

The minister faulted the unions’ argument that they only resumed an old strike, saying the strike had been conciliated, called off and the terms of agreement implemented.

“If the unions under JAC are embarking on a fresh strike, they are yet to comply with the relevant sections of the labour laws”, he added.

He warned them to stop misguiding their members and avoid pushing the government to a point where it would invoke ‘No Work No Pay’ in line with labour laws.(NAN)

 

Hike In Fuel Price: ASUU, NASU Protest Paralyzes Vehicular Movement In Ile-Ife

By Waheed Adekunle, Osogbo

Protest by ‎members of Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and Non-Academic Staff Union of Universities (NASU) in Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), halted vehicular movement in Ile-Ife, Osun State on Thursday.

The protesters, who stormed the streets of Ile-Ife about 09.00am, marched from OAU campus gate to May-fair roundabout and other places to demonstrate their disaffection over the recent hike in the price of petroleum.

The protesters who barricaded the major roads to prevent vehicular movement were seen singing revolutionary songs convey their displeasure over the increment in the price of the petroleum product.

The protesters were armed with placards of different inscriptions such as ‘Nigeria Labour will never surrender’, ‘ASUU says no to high electricity tariff ‘, and ‘We voted for change not chaos’ among others.

The protesters lamented that majority of the Federal Government’s policies were anti-masses, saying the time has come to revolt against what they described as “anti-people policies”.

According to them, the Federal Government needs to revert some of its policies especially hike in fuel price.

While addressing the crowd, Chairman of SUU, OAU Chapter, Dr. Caleb Aborisade, challenged the FG to demonstrate it’s care for the masses by reverting fuel price.

Aborisade, who was represented by ‎Dr. Ayoka Abiodun, said, “If truly are for the masses, they should not make life unbearable for them.

“Everyone can see that  the hike in Petrol has worsen their living condition as virtually every consumable items had skyrocketed in their prices.

“Right now, things are going out of hands  for common people as their purchasing power is weakening every day”, he added.

On his part, Chairman of NASU, OAU Chapter, Mr. Wole Odewumi, said government was inflicting pains on the masses with increment in petroleum product.

Odewumi appealed to the Federal Government  to make policies that are “masses-friendly”, saying until that is being championed, nothing would be regarded as signs of good governance.

OAU VC Position: NASU Alleges Foul Play On Part Of School Management

The Non-Academic Staff Union of Universities has accused the management of the Obafemi Awolowo University of refusing to subject the appointment of a new Vice Chancellor for the institution to due process.

It alleged that the school’s management was planning to impose a candidate on the institution instead of following due process.

The subject of a new Vice Chancellor has become controversial since it became known that the incumbent VC, Bamitale Omole, would soon be done with his tenure.

“The management and Governing council wants to impose one person on us, it is bad that due process has not been followed,” the Chairman of NASU, OAU chapter, Wole Odewunmi, said.

“The law states that, there should be a committee of four persons, two each from academic staff union of universities and governing council. The committee will recommend three persons but they are saying that just one person is qualified to run.

“Out of the contestants two were qualified in 2011, why will they not be qualified now.

“We will make OAU ungovernable for them if they succeed in imposing anyone on us, we have no power as senior staff of OAU too are against the lack of respect for due process at the moment.

Reacting however, the Public Relations Officer of OAU, Abiodun Olanrewaju said NASU’s position was based on falsehood.

“Is it possible for a governing council with 10 members to become compromised? The allegation is unfounded and not real,” Mr. Olanrewaju said.

NASU and SSANU held a one-day peaceful protest on the March 23 to protest the alleged imposition of the candidate.