BY QUADRI SALIU
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has denied ever receiving N100 billion from the Federal Government, adding that the government has done nothing to their various demands.
While maintaining that the industrial action continues, ASUU Abuja branch, challenged the Federal Government to mention any of the things done to bring to an end the ongoing strike embarked upon by the union.
Dr Kassim Umaru, the Union’s branch chairman gave this clarity during an interview with journalists at the end of its Congress, held at the University’s Mini Campus in Gwagwalada on Tuesday.
Reacting to the reports that the federal government had approved another N100 billion for the university unions as part of the 2009 agreement, Umaru said all these were being said in social media and newspapers.
“Is there any document to our union? We should begin to ask them these questions. The students will have to be patient, it is a fight we have to do once and for all and it is a fight for the future of unborn children,” he urged.
According to him, the Congress deliberated on issues around the strike and vehemently pronounced and reject the offer presented by the federal government, saying that the National Executive Council would meet at the end of the four weeks ultimatum to take its decision.
He said: “As far as we are concerned, the federal government has not done anything to our various demands.
“The federal government should tell the Nigerian public what they have done. The two committees that were set up, the Nimi Briggs committee was set up, the Jubrin committee was set up and these committees had their recommendations.”
“Our salaries are always negotiated, it is not something you feel you can pay us, it is something that you have to sit down to talk and agree that you can pay us.
“As far as we concerned, our job is different from any other civil servant’s; it is the job you are going back to do, you are not paying for an hour you are paying for the job we have done, so it is their responsibility to pay us and if they said they are not paying us, it is a joke taken too far.”
He therefore added that the ‘no work, no pay’ policy as stated by the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, cannot hold stressing that the 1981 trade Union act were very clear on that.
“As it is, they have not called our union and Nigerians should know that we have not been called, no invitation to our union and all that we know is the strike continues.”
“We have no alternative than to do what we are doing and we must do it so that we can compete with the external world.
“In the entire world today, nobody jokes with education. If you are talking of economy, you are talking of cultural and social aspects, you must invest in education. No single country jokes with education like the way Nigerians are doing,” Umaru said.