Contrary to the pledge made in January that there would be no strike action in the near future, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) announced that it could embark on a strike again in July over the non-payment of N128 billion arrears of allowances.
ASUU National President Biodun Ogunyemi hinted at the strike action during a news conference held at the University of Abuja on Wednesday.
According to him, the federal government owes academic staff in federal universities unpaid allowances of nearly N128 billion. Mr. Ogunyemi said that the ASUU insisted on a framework for paying any part of the “Earned Academic Allowances” (EAA) arrears.
He said the union has decided that the particular issue of the EAA cannot be meaningfully addressed unless it is within an agreed framework.
“Hence the National Executive Council (NEC) of the ASUU resolved that all outstanding arrears of EAA should be paid not later than July 2017,” Mr. Ogunyemi stated.
The president also observed the non-release of the Operational Licensing of Nigerian Universities Pension Management Company (NUPEMCO).
Mr. Ogunyemi said that the company had met the minimum requirements for registration as a Pension Fund Administrator (PFA).
He said that the failure of PENCOM to release the operational license of NUPEMCO as a PFA had created the feeling of insecurity and loss of confidence among retirees in the system.
“The PFA cartel appears determined to abort the process of NUPEMCO licensing which started more than four years ago,” Mr. Ogunyemi said. This is against the right to choose, he added.
The president noted that the 2013 memorandum of understanding signed with the federal government on funding for the revitalization of public universities had not been released as agreed.
“The MoU stipulates that N200 billion would be released in 2013 for massive injection of funds to reposition Nigerian public universities for global competition.
“Thereafter, N220 billion is to be released for subsequent five years, adding up to N1.3 trillion by 2018, not a single kobo has been released up till date,” Mr. Ogunyemi said.
He concluded by announcing that the union’s decision has been communicated to the government.