ASUU Strike: Why FG Released Only N30bn — Suswam

The federal government has explained why it released only N30 billion rather that the N92 billion demanded by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) as part of the ‘earned allowance.’

Benue State governor Gabriel Suswam, who heads the FG’s Needs Assessment Committee, while speaking yesterday in Abuja during a meeting with the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) said the government had to verify that the earned allowance being requested by ASUU is up to N92 billion.

Suswam also said the N30 billion was yesterday released to the Ministry of Education for immediate distribution to the university councils.

He said only the university councils could carry out such verification, noting that government cannot hand out money without verification.

He noted that government would release more money if after due process had been followed a deficit was noted.

He said, “On the issue of earned allowance, the government has accepted in principle the payment of earned allowance which ASUU valued at N92billion. What the FG has done is to release an initial sum of N30billion and we appealed to ASUU to go and verify exactly how much each person is owed so we would know how the figure of N92 billion was arrived at.”

Suswam disclosed that goovernment had already released the N30billion in question the previous day to the Ministry of Education which would in turn release it to governing councils of the institutions and was then appealing to the lecturers to return to work.

“We have appealed to ASUU to take this initial sum and verify how much each person is being owed. If at the end of the day, we find out that we underpaid, we make up for the deficit but ASUU has refused this strategy, insisting that the entire lump sum of N92billion be paid to them upfront,” he said.

The governor also said the striking members of the ASUU have been unfair to Nigerian students even after government has taken great strides to meet their demands.

Also speaking, NANS president-, Yinka Gbadebo said the students decided to pay a visit to the goveornor so as to hear the government’s side of the story.

He said the students had earlier met with the leadership of ASUU, the minister of education and the executive secretary of NUC.

“We are here to hear your own side of the story because since the beginning of the strike, there has been so much pressure on us to go into the streets to protest but we don’t believe protest should be the first port of call. All we are told is that we the Nigerian students need to protest in order to coerce the government into meeting the demands of ASUU but we want to know firsthand what the government has done to ensure the reopening of our universities as soon as possible,” he said.

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