Bauchi State Branch of ASUU Berates Federal Government Over Endless Discussions
…Says Minister of Labour, Chris Ngige and AGF, Idris are taking Nigerians for Granted
The Bauchi Zonal Coordinator of the Academic Staff Union of Nigerian Universities (ASUU), Prof. Lawan G. Abubakar, has berated the Federal Government for the endless discussions over the ongoing ASUU strike. The Union made her position known in a press statement issued on Wednesday November 18 at the Gombe State University (GSU), Gome.
The Statement read:
“The Strike Action embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) in March this year, is now in its ninth month with 95% of the Nigerian University Students in 45 Federal and 48 State Universities redundantly staying at home. Series of meetings, engagements and contacts between ASUU leadership and Federal Government of Officials have not yielded the desired results that would enable the Students to go back to their classrooms, simply because the Minister of Labour and Employment (MoL&E), Dr. Chris Ngige, and the Accountant General of the Federation (AGF), Alhaji Ahmed Idris, have continued to throw spanners in the wheel of progress of such concerted efforts aimed at amicable resolution of the impasse.
“While the MoL&E has continued to exhibit all manners of antics and insisting that Government does not have money to responsibly educate its citizens, the AGF has continued to greedily and selfishly count on the gains of the N16,000 per enrolment of each Academic Staff he would have made, thereby insisting that ASUU members enroll on the only payment platform he has now, the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS).
“As if that is not enough, these Government Officials have continued to take the Nigerian Public for granted by misinforming and misleading Students, Parents and the General Public. This is not fair!
“At this point, let me remind you that there was a truce reached between ASUU and FGN that led to the suspension of an ASUU strike on the 7th February, 2019 called the 2019 FGN/ASUU Memorandum of Action (MoA) which collapsed and led to the current Strike. The responsibility for such a collapse rests squarely on Dr. Chris Nigige. The Minister simply went to sleep and failed to manage the MoA, and worst still, has not deemed it right to accept this failure and apologise to Nigerians for such mess.
“The recent insult Ngige has meted on Nigerians over the ASUU strike was that Government does not have money to give ASUU N110b and that they would explore other options of ending the strike if ASUU remains adamant. Let me, first clarify that the N110b is NOT for ASUU; it is for the rehabilitation of the 93 Public Universities in Nigeria for now. What will the N20b flicked by Government through Ngige do to 93 Universities? Are they going to buy groundnuts? How would FGN provide N37b for the rehabilitation of the National Assembly last year and only N20b for 93 Universities this year? How can the Public believe that Government does not have money to fund the rehabilitation of 93 Universities but is raising N380b to prosecute Boko Haram in 2021?
“The other side of the insult will not be taken lightly by ASUU, Bauchi Zone because for Ngige to be elephant-sure that the strike was going to be ended this week without any concrete offers indicated that there was a sinister move to crush the ASUU Struggle. The Zone is assuring Ngige that the Union is strategically, tactically and physically ever ready for such a sinister move from anybody. It is our firm assertion that suspension of the Strike this week is not feasible because the Government Team led by Ngige is not displaying any commitment in this regard. The 2019 MoA has not been honoured and by implication, the 2017 MoA, the 2013 MoU and the 2009 Agreement have not been honoured, let alone implemented. The Strike is NOT all about Salary payment and payment platform as the Government has attempted to reduce it to. Recent promises made by Government are yet to be respected and actualised. Government has simply made some static offers and is not willing to shift grounds to favourably end the strike for over one month. The offers made by Government are even slippery!
“It is pertinent to note that ASUU is very much aware of the damning pronouncements of the Anambra APC leaders on the MoL&E, Dr. Chris Ngige. We are also aware of the cried of his immediate Community in his state. It is not in the best interest of the Minister to continue to exhibit such excesses on processes that would enable students to return to their classrooms. We advise him to stop it.
“To the AGF, we do not need to draw a diagram to demonstrate that we know he is assiduously working for his ambitious retirement benefit, becoming the next Governor of Kano State, in addition to financial gains already mentioned. This promise to you is certainly going to be similarly reneged if you do not assist this Government to honour and actualise the promises it had made to ASUU and the Nigerian University System. A word is enough for the wise.
“Lastly, we would want Gentlemen of the Press to assist us in the conduct of two Investigations. The first is to uncover who bought the version of the Sokoto Hotel in Kano with a swooping sum of N500m, cash down, and demolished it the next day for an on-going development of a multi-billion Naira Shopping Mall. How and where did he or she get money for such investment? The second assignment is to assist uncover who is hiding to invest multi-billion Naira in the Gezawa Commodity Market and Exchange. How and where did he or she get money for such investment?
“ASUU, Bauchi Zone calls on students, their parents, Civil Society Organisations and the public to continue to understand and join pressure forces with ASUU in this struggle for the emancipation of the Nigerian Public University System by insisting that Government has the resources and should commit such resources to adequately fund Public University Education.
“The Union calls on its members to continue to remain resolute and committed to this Struggle, for victory shall be on the side of Nigeria”.
The Struggle Continues!