National president of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Nassir Faggae, has accused the Finance Minister, Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, of contradicting herself by saying that Federal Government cannot afford the union’s allowances despite the fact that the economy of the nation has improved.
Faggae, while speaking on television news and current affairs programme monitored in Lagos, wondered why the Minister, who had told Nigerians that the country’s economy has grown, still turned round to tell Nigerians that the government does not have the money to implement policies related to development of education in the country.
According to him, “I find it difficult to understand the position of the Minister. I think there is a contradiction, she should make the situation clear to Nigerians.”
He explained further that the Federal Government’s committee led by Governor Gabriel Suswan was unwilling to implement the recommendations of the NEEDS assessment report, adding, “the situation is that government decided to disaggregate the issues in contention into two.
“One of which is funding, which has been referred to the committee, we had to pull out of that committee because it became clear to us that the committee was not really interested in implementing the NEEDS assessment report. Rather, what the committee was out to do was to politicise the issue of the strike,” he said.
Faggae also raised the issue of allowances for academic and non-academic staff of universities over a period of three years, since 2009, a total put at N92 billion, which he said the Federal Government through the Minister of Finance, said it cannot afford. “N30 billion was offered to ASUU to either take it or leave it.
“We expect the committee to draw a road map by which all the 10 recommendations presented in the NEEDS assessment report will be implemented but the committee singled out about one and a half recommendations and made a lot of publicity at the point of implementations,” he added.
He, however, insisted that the union would not make a decision until after its letter to the committee, which stated its observations, received a response.
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