Posts Tagged ‘National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS)’

We cannot be bought or comprised AGAIN- NANS denies proposed meeting with Jonathan

Tuesday, February 24th, 2015

National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS)

National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS)

The President of National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), Comrade Ali wali has denied knowledge of any planned meeting between President Goodluck Jonathan and the leadership of the students body, saying “there is no way NANS will meet with Mr President without my knowledge.”

Comrade Wali was reacting on Tuesday to a report in a section of the media that the leadership of NANS would be meeting with President Jonathan with a view to helping to mobilise students’ votes for him in the March 28 presidential election.

It was also rumoured that during the planned meeting, arrangements would be finalised on an Anti-Buhari rally to be held in Abuja where the students body would declare its support for Jonathan and highlight reasons why Nigerian students should not vote the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari.

But speaking with newsmen in Abuja on Tuesday, Comrade Ali Wali described the planners and organisers of the said meeting as imposters and non-students who, for years, had been using NANS as political venture to negotiate with the highest bidders, warning that Nigerian students would resist such move this time.

“I want politicians in the country to know that NANS is not for sale, and we cannot be bought or comprised. There was never a time that we contemplated a meeting with President Goodluck Jonathan to discuss his candidacy or Nigerian students’ support for him in the rescheduled presidential election. As a students body, we are nonpartisan and will make only our electoral decisions and choices based on issues and concerns as they affect our education system and the socio-economic development of the country.

“I am not aware of any meeting with President Goodluck Jonathan. I am the elected President of NANS, so if Mr President is negotiating with another NANS President or leadership, he is doing so to his own peril and detriment. At best, he is negotiating with imposters and liars who are not registered students in any tertiary institution in the country. We will resist them; we know what to do,” Wali said.

Source: LEADERSHIP

2015: Why We Rejected Jonathan’s Endorsement For President – Students’ Leaders

Thursday, September 4th, 2014

National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS)

National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS)

Zonal leaders of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) have rejected the endorsement of President Goodluck Jonathan for a new term, by the association’s national leader. NANS president, Yinka Gbadebo had last Thursday, endorsed President Jonathan to run for another term in office. The president who led the national executive members of the association on a courtesy visit to the First Lady, Patience Jonathan, expressed NANS support at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.

But zonal leaders of the union say they were not informed and will not back any political endorsement without adequate consultation and review. “As for us in NANS ZONE B for south west, we have not declared our support for any aspirant be you PDP or APC or Labour, because we have not seen reasons why we should come out now and say we are supporting any political persons,” said Sunday Asafon who is the coordinator Zone B, Southwest, and a student leader at Ekiti State University.

“For us in Southwest, we have not and if we are going to declare anybody I think it has to be an open thing; we have to invite the whole institutions. It’s not something someone will just do as an individual and anybody that said he has declared Jonathan for another term is on his own. We are not part of it, we are disassociating ourselves from it,” he said.

The Zone A coordinator of the North Central chapter of NANS, Abdulrahman Bala, said the zone will oppose the endorsement of President Goodluck Jonathan by its national body. Mr. Bala told newsmen that his union was not aware of the endorsement. “We were not consulted at all. We never knew about it. The pronouncement came out of the personal experience of the NANS president, and if there should be any endorsement, a memo has to be created whereby an input will be collected from various students so that it will be announced properly,” he said. “We have not even discussed about the issue. We are going against it because we were not consulted and as a leader I think I should be consulted likewise other leaders too before such matter would spring up,” Mr. Bala said.

The former assistant secretary general of NANS, Mohammed Aliyu, also said the union was going to oppose the endorsement of the President, stating that it was also not aware of it. “We are not aware and we are also planning a press conference in Kaduna this week. We are going to counter it. They acted on their own,” Mr. Aliyu said.

Mohammed Abubakar, the immediate past coordinator of NANS Zone A, has also expressed his disappointment with the NANS president.Mr. Abubakar described how shocked and disappointed his union was at receiving the news. “We received the news with shock and disappointment, we are completely against it. If there should be any endorsement, people like us needs to be aware. Anybody in his right senses will not say he is endorsing on behalf of Nigerian students without informing NANS. I believe he is promoting his selfish agenda because he is not representing Nigeria students,” Mr. Abubakar concluded.

Source

LATEST ON ASUP/COEASU STRIKE: You need know what National Assembly asked ASUP to do…A MUST READ

Friday, July 4th, 2014

What it will take to end the strike

ASUP and COEASU strikes

According to a member who is representing the Kauru Federal Constituency in the National Assembly, Representative Simon Arabo, who disclosed to Faith, our correspondent, that the National Assembly has been doing its own bit in order to ensure that the federal government and the teachers reach some kind of agreement which will see that the ASUP strike which has been on going since October 2013, end immediately.

The Rep, Simon Arabo disclosed that the 10 Months old strike action, which was embark upon by the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) as a scandal.

Simon Arabo even went further to say that this strike is really getting out of hands and students have been sitting at home doing absolutely nothing, and he said this, while receiving award from the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) yesterday.

He continued and here’s his exact words: “Both the teachers and the federal government should know that this kind of long strike does not help anybody, not even the government in the long run.

Such things don’t happen anywhere in the world except in Nigeria. It is only in Nigeria that such kind of strikes happened which lasts for Months, going to a Year in the next 2 months”. We hope that the strike gets called off very soon and students return back to their studies.

Source: DAILYSCHOOLNEWS.COM

#EKITIDECIDES: ‘Fayemi is a face of democracy in Nigeria’ – says Jonathan’s aide

Tuesday, June 24th, 2014

Senior Special Assistant to President Goodluck Jonathan on youth and student matters, Comrade Jude Imagwe, yesterday called on politicians to emulate Governor Kayode Fayemi of the Ekiti State.

Ekiti State Goveror, John Kayode Fayemi

Ekiti State Goveror, John Kayode Fayemi


The aide said by accepting the results of the last Saturday’s governorship election, Governor Fayemi won himself a place in the country’s history.

Speaking at the inauguration of the Convention Planning Committee of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) in Abuja, Imagwe said “Accepting defeat in a free and fair election is an act that must be emulated by all political players.”

“The Ekiti election is a reflection and determination of Mr President to have a transformed electoral process,” he said.

“Ekiti people have redefined democracy. I will say, Governor Kayode Fayemi is a face of democracy in Nigeria and I am picking Fayemi as the democracy man of the year.”

Imagwe appealed to politicians as well as aspirants in the forthcoming NANS convention in Markurdi, Benue
State to learn from Fayemi and accept defeat whenever it comes.

Earlier, the NANS President, Comrade Yinka Gbadebo, while inaugurating a 36-man Committee for the convention, charged the members on “free, fair and credible election that will usher in the next leadership of NANS.”

Culled from: DAILYPOST

ASUP, COEASU Strike Update: Students Take To Gani’s Park

Monday, March 31st, 2014

ASUP, COEASU Strike: Students Take To Gani’s Park
Hundreds of university, polytechnic and College of Education students Monday, continued their protest against the ongoing strike by Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) and College of Education Academic Staff Union (COEASU) at Gani Park in Ojota, Lagos, southwest Nigeria.

The protest was led by National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) Zone D, Coordinator, Com. Asefon Sunday, who said the reason they have brought the protest to the park is to identify with the spirit of the late human rights activist and lawyer, Gani Fawehinmi, SAN, who was an untiring advocate of the rights of the common man.

“Gani is a symbol of struggle in this country, so we identified with him by coming here. He fought so many battles in his life time to ensure that the commoners have a say. Here is just a meeting point, we would hold the Lagos State Government and Federal Government to ransom until our demands are met,” Asefon said.

He said the main reason the students movement took action is to make the Federal Government know that students who have spent over 8 months at home are tired and want to get back to class.

Asefon implored the Federal Government to implement the agreements they had with ASUP and COEASU in the interest of the students rather than spending bogus amount on a national conference where majority sleep over serious issue.

He called on Lagos State Government to reverse the tuition fee Lagos State University, LASU, now cahrges as it is against the principles and ideas of the founding fathers of the institution.

“LASU is a public university. The high tuition fees is against tthe principles that brought the public school into existence. It negates the ideas of the founding fathers. Lagos State Government should immediately reverse the fee hike,” he said.

In pamphlets distributed to motorists, NANS called on Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Raji Fashola, to immediately reverse the hiked LASU fees to the barest minimum and that the Federal Government should honour the 2010 agreement entered with COEASU and ASUP.

The students’ demands also include the conversion of Higher National Diploma (HND) to Bachelor of Technology (B.Tech), 26% budgetary allocation to education as recommended by UNESCO and immediate removal of Supervising Minister of Education, Nyesom Wike, amongst other demands.

The National Coordinator, Education Rights Campaign (ERC), Hassan Soweto, who spoke with P.M.NEWS, said the group is fully in support of the action of the students.

“We fully support the initiative of NANS Zone D to organise this protest. We support the demands for the implementation of agreements with ASUP and COEASU and reversal of LASU school fees,” he said

He noted that the students movement would not relent in its call for the reversal of the school fees until its demands are fully met.

PM NEWS

ASUU strike: Parents shun FG order, refuse to release wards for resumption

Wednesday, December 4th, 2013

CULLED FROM THE SUN NESPAPER

asuuHeeding to an advice by the striking Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASSU), parents yesterday refused to release their wards to resume lectures after spending five months at home. The Federal Government had last Thursday given the lecturers December 4 deadline to return or be sacked.

However, the Federal Government yesterday extended the deadline to December 9 in honour of the late former president of ASUU, Prof. Festus Iyayi, who died in a motor accident in Kogi State last month. He was on his way to attend the National Executive Council (NEC) congress in Kano.

The government’s directive to ASUU to call off the strike incensed the lecturers.

Just like the trend which was witnessed in some campuses on Monday, only state-owned universities are complying with the directive to sign the register. It was the turn of the Ebonyi State University, Abakiliki yesterday where lectures took place in all the departments at its three campuses. Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba-Akoko, Ondo State, opened its doors to students and lecturers on Monday.

It was a different ball game at federal universities. Parents held on to their children, citing the advice and warning of the striking lecturers.

But more universities are announcing dates of resumption in line with the government’s directive. However, ASUU members refused to shift their position with many staying away from the lecture halls nor signing the register opened by the vice chancellors.

PARENTS’ POSITION

Some of the parents said that they decided to keep their wards at home due to the precarious situation on campuses coupled with the long distance their wards would have to travel before getting to their campuses with no sign of lectures holding in the few institutions that have opened.

One of them Alhaji Saka Olakunle, whose two wards are students of Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, told Daily Sun that he decided to keep his children rather than rush them back to the campus because the face-off between FG/ASUU is becoming dicey. He said the striking lecturers immediately the government gave the directive told parents not to bother sending their wards to the campuses and that he is watching the situation.

A trader, Mr. Francis Okechukwu, said one of his sons who went to his university soon after the directive has called to say that nothing was happening. He has opted to hold unto the other two who are students of University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN) “I am not in a hurry to send them to the campus, ASUU warned us to keep our children at home, that is what I have done until the strike is called off’’.

A 300 level student of Abia State University, Comfort Ike, said that she is monitoring the situation from Lagos and that some of her colleagues who travelled are stranded on the campus because the lecturers insisted they are on strike and asked them to return home.

Less than 24 hours to the deadline, some of the striking lecturers held their congresses yesterday and again resolved to continue the industrial action and expecting that tomorrow (today) would come and pass like any ordinary day.

The ASUU University of Lagos Chairman, Dr. Karo Ogbinaka, said that the branch held its congress yesterday and decided to continue. “We are waiting to see what will happen tomorrow (today). We are not scared, they have done it before and nothing happened. We are waiting to see what they will do’’, he said.

According to him, there are no security personnel at the two main gates and that the Senate of the university has not met to take a decision on resumption, noting ‘’we are expecting the President to respond to our letter’’, stressing that the other two colleagues who attempted to opt out are now back to the fold’’.

The ASUU University of Benin Chairman, Dr. Anthony Monye-Emina, also said that the congress held yesterday and resolved that members should not sign the register and those who had signed went back to cancel their names after the meeting.

According to him, since the directive to vice chancellors to re-open the universities, none of his members has gone back to the lecture halls and that there are no policemen/soldiers on the campus.

ASUU OAU Chairman, Prof Peter Akinola, faulted the directive, stressing that the universities have a tradition of inviting students back to school which is through the Senate which he said has not met to re-open the institution.

He described as a ruse and panic by the vice chancellors to comply with the directive of the ‘’oga at the top’’ and even as he picked holes in the invitation of National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) and other student union leaders to Abuja to discuss the ASUU strike.

At the Ebonyi State University, lecturers attended to students. At the College of Agricultural Sciences, students were seen receiving lectures while others were either loitering or discussing in groups. At the Department of Animal Sciences and Law Faculty, students confirmed they received lectures in the morning.

“We have started lectures since last week, even now we have just received lectures but I don’t know about other departments,” Okechukwu Mbam, a second year Agric Science student said.

A senior lecturer in the Department of English, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that lectures commenced last week at the institution, adding that students were gradually returning. “I taught my students twice last week. The school is bubbling and the students are gradually returning.

Meanwhile, the one-week ultimatum given to ASUU to call off its strike and return to lectures or else be sacked, and which was originally fixed for today, has been shifted till Monday, December 9.

In an exclusive chat with Daily Sun, the Supervising Minister of Education, Mr Nyesom Wike,noted that the extension of the deadline was being done in honour of the late Prof. Iyayi, who will be buried this weekend.

Already, final rites leading to his internment have commenced. Wike who noted that the postponement was being done in honour of Iyayi, who he said was going to prevail on the union to call off the strike before he lost his life in a fatal motor accident, added that it would have been insensitive on the part of the government to still carry out the report-or-be-sacked order in the week that the man is being buried.

ASUU STRIKE: NANS plans framework to solve impasse

Friday, November 22nd, 2013

CULLED FROM NIGERIAN TRIBUNE

National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) has assured that the outcome of the ongoing efforts with other education stakeholders and policy makers in the country will soon bring a lasting framework to solve the lingering strike action embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) in the nation’s universities.

Speaking during a presentation of NANS Best University award to University of Ilorin, on Thursday, the coordinator of NANS, Zone C, Comrade Adio Odunjo, lamented that strikes by the ASUU had become an annual ritual.

“We are convinced that the outcome of our interaction and discussions with these policy makers and stakeholders will provide a framework for finding a lasting solution to the problem in our universities,” he said.

The NANS leader also said that Nigerian universities could only rank among leading ones in the world when university authorities embraced culture of academic consistency and excellence, adding that the culture had distinguished University of Ilorin among its peers.

He said that the education sector held the key to revitalisation and national development, adding that education contributed to the country’s development indices.

Why Iyayi made ill-fated trip

Sunday, November 17th, 2013

iyayiThe name Festus Iyayi symbolizes struggle for academic freedom, democratization of our educational system, national development and socialism. He was the President of Academic Staff Union of University (ASUU) in the 1980s and in 1987, under his leadership, the Babangida administration banned ASUU, terminated the employment of Prof. Iyayi from University of Benin and subsequently arrested, detained and tortured him.

It is to the credit of Prof. Iyayi and ASUU leadership that ASUU survived those repressive measures and is operating based on its founding principles. Most organizations, even when they survive, hardly are able to make any claims to values.

No doubt, the 1980s was a defining period for popular organizations in Nigeria. It was a period that the Federal Government, under the military, virtually declared a war against freedom to organize and, to that extent, declared leaders of organizations as subversives.

In the circumstance, organizations like ASUU, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) faced direct attacks especially under military rule between1984 and 1999. During this period, these organizations were banned severallyand the leadership persecuted, victimized, arrested and detained without trials for months.

Laws were promulgated by government to justify these and in some cases, these laws besides coming with ouster clauses that disqualify our courts from entertaining cases bordering on enforcement of fundamental rights of victims (most of whom are leaders of these organizations), they in some cases even face charges of life and death sentences.

Without any questions, the capacity of organizations to survive those dark periods was challenged and leaders like the late Dr. Mahmud Tukur, Prof. Iyayi, Prof. Attahiru Jega, Alh. Hassan Sumonu,Alh. Ali Ciroma, Comrades Wahab Goodluck, Dapo Fatogun, the late Chris Abashi, Lanre Arogundade, Hilkiya Bubajoda, Emma Ezeazu and many others were illustrious in their contributions.

ASUU provided the intellectual foundation for the radical orientation of these organizations to resist and outlive military rule. Sadly, NANS is way distant from its radical nationalist orientation of the 1980s. NLC lives in virtually its old glory. Both for NANS and NLC, values may just be limited to bearing a “Comrade” title with hardly any meaning.

More than any organization, ASUU has remained consistent and was able to grow a community of leaders with organic links to wider society. Unlike NLC and NANS, the community of leaders in ASUU have till today sustained ASUU’s organizational focus, orientation and commitment to broader values of national development, which has underpinned its demands and struggles over the years. In the Nigerian context, ASUU is one of the few non-governmental organizations that have been consistent and in many respect still linked to all its leadership since it was founded.

It was this link that explains Prof. Iyayi’s role and why he was traveling for ASUU NEC meeting on the fateful day, Tuesday, November 12 and lost his life. The pain of Iyayi’s loss has made many of us to ask questions that are at best immaterial. Of course, for many who only knew Prof. Iyayi remotely, their response reflect a confusion of what may happen to the expected suspension of the three months old ASUU strike.

‘Iyayi made us’

For those us who were privileged to know Prof. Iyayi, I am not sure any word can convey our feeling. It is a feeling that borders on admiration, respect and obedience. I was privileged to serve as NANS President 1988/89 at a time when Students’ Unions were banned in almost all tertiary institutions in the country.

In July 1988 when we were elected, our primary mandate was the re-activation of Students’ Union structures in the country. In the face of repressive measures, a team of more than 20 students leaders from all over the country was basically reduced to a team of four. The first person that resigned from that Exco was the NANS Secretary whose father being a Deputy Commissioner of Police was threatened.

For many of us, it was a period that exposed us to the fact that there are Nigerians that have broken all barriers and risen above all primordial sentiments. These Nigerians related with us in very special ways. Although not older than their children, they discussed every issue with us with respect, treated us like their peers, which in many respects challenged our intellect. In the process, we had good access to academic literature.

Prof. Iyayi, the community of intellectuals in ASUU, patriotic leaders of NLC and other Nigerians really made us who we are today. Without the support of these people, many of us who grow through the ranks of the student movement would have simply evaporated into the confused Nigerian society that recognizes no skill or talent.

Unfortunately, some of us who are privileged to find themselves in the corridors of power forget this fact. A good example was the way one of us in the current government described Dr. Dipo Fashina as a “character” during the January 2012 fuel subsidy strike. This was to say the least an uncharitable statement coming from somebody who was a product of the sacrifices of people like Iyayi and Dipo. As brothers and comrades, we have a responsibility to be brutally frank to each other.

Calamity

Part of the calamity that has befallen us is the fact that we made very stupid mistakes on account of which some of our best are today serving one of the worst governments produced in this country. I am certain this will be contested largely on opportunistic grounds. However, I can accept that, at the end of it all, the basis of all justifications is simply our stupid mistakes of not engaging the Abdulsalami transition programme in1998 in an organized way. On account of this mistake, people like the comrade now in government have taken individual decisions and may have forgotten their own history.

This highlights a strong disconnect between those of us who have passed through the mentorship of people like Iyayi. One cannot but salute the capacity of that old community of leaders that include Prof. Iyayi, Dr. Fashina, Prof. Olorode, Alh. Sumonu, etc. Somehow,these leaders must be going through traumatizing experiences of having to absorb all these shocks and continue to provide unwavering leadership in the struggles for Nigeria’s development.

Part of the criticism against ASUU is the fact that it has only one weapon of fighting bad governance and dictatorship. That weapon is STRIKE. Under democracy, there are other weapons, which include lobbying National Assembly. Of course, given the realities facing us, it is legitimate to have low confidence with respect to outcomes of engagement with National Assembly. There is also the fact that strikes have worked very well for ASUU. Since the early 1990s, all ASUU strikes have succeeded in terms of winning demands. In some ways therefore, ASUU and its leadership are only responding instinctively.

Options to strike

Perhaps, we need to find ways of engaging some of our leaders and mentors such that they are challenged to act more logically and scientifically. I have no direct answers with respect to this but I believe that strike, especially the current one, may not be the best logical and scientific answer to the problem of breach of contractual agreement. There are certainly other solutions. The best tribute we can give to Prof. Iyayi is for us all as a nation to commit ourselves to finding all the options at our disposal to address the problem of irresponsible conducts of our governments and leaders.

Prof. Iyayi would have been very much alive with us today but for the irresponsible conduct of our federal government to breach the agreement it willfully entered into with ASUU. On account of that breach, unquantifiable amount of resources have been wasted, including loss of lives. The loss of Prof. Iyayi is the high point. May it be the turning point such that as a people we are able to commit ourselves to rescuing this country? May the death of Prof. Iyayi awaken all of us to the need to discover new ways and methods of solving all our societal problems especially those created by the irresponsible conducts of our governments and leaders. Finally, may the death of Prof. Iyayi serve as the watershed in the struggle for higher education in the country such that strikes become the remotest of weapons and least employed?

Rest in peace Prof. Festus Iyayi!

*Lukman, a former students union activist, was assistant general secretary of Nigeria Labour Congress. smlukman@gmail.com

ASUU Strike: NANS Passes Vote Of No Confidence On Jonathan

Sunday, September 15th, 2013

NANS PRESIDENT

NANA PRESIDENT YINKA GBADEBO

The leadership of National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) has passed a vote of no confidence on President Goodluck Jonathan for lacking the political will to revamp the education sector.

NANS, in a statement signed its national president, Prince Miaphen, said most worrisome and infuriating was his administration’s failure to implement the 2009 agreement reached with ASUU.

The statement further lamented that successful governments had paid lip services to the development of education in the country.

The statement reads in part, “We can not watch in silence as our universities and other high institutions churn out half-baked graduates every year due to incessant strike. We can not suffer in silence while individuals responsible for our travails send their own children to choice universities abroad.

LEADERSHIP

ASUU strike: Facts of the matter

Friday, August 23rd, 2013

asupFor many, this is not the best of times for President Goodluck Jonathan. The challenges, facing the nation under his leadership are undoubtedly enormous.

Even the confidence of the optimist would fail him when faced with the complexity of problems, confronting the nation.

But as the president grapples with the headache of leadership, one area that has become an albatross on his neck is the education sector. As it appears, the efforts of his administration in repositioning the sector has not significantly yielded the desired result. This is even as many would argue that the problem had long been there before Jonathan came on board.

It is little wonder that Nigerians, especially parents, are worried over the protracted strike embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU). On July 2, 2013, ASUU declared what it called, “total and indefinite strike” over issues it said had remained unresolved, pertaining to an agreement it reached with the government in 2009.

Some of the demands of ASUU include amendment of retirement age of academics on professorial cadre from 65 to 70, funding requirements for revitalisation of Nigerian universities and Federal Government assistance to state universities, payment of earned allowances, reinstatement of prematurely dissolved governing councils, transfer of Federal Government landed properties to universities, among others.

ASUU went on strike in 2006 based on request for a review of personnel matters. On account of this, government initiated a Needs Assessment of the University System, comprising federal and state universities. And determined to permanently address the issue of incessant strikes by ASUU, the negotiations led to the 2009 agreement.

The high points of the agreement and status of implementation are: Consolidated Salary Structure for Academics in Nigerian Universities CONUASS II made up of the following components; Consolidated Peculiar Allowances (CONPUAA), exclusively for university teaching staff and derived from allowances not adequately reflected or not consolidated in CONUASS; Rent as approved by the Federal Government effective, January 1, 2007 (FGN Circular SWC/S/04/S.309/1 of January 18, 2007. It should be noted that a Consolidated Salary Structure was also done for non-teaching staff too.

According to available records, this has been fully implemented; all teaching and non-teaching staff have been on the Consolidated Salary Structure since 2009.

There is also the issue of amendment of pensionable retirement age of academics in the professorial cadre. It is interesting to note that government has fully implemented this and professors now retire at 70 years while others retire at 65 instead of 60 years.

Part of the 2009 agreement is also the registration of Nigerian Universities Pension Management Company (NUPEMCO). On this, government has contributed its own counterpart funding of N250 million in addition to other administrative support to help the unions meet up with the mandatory deposit required for registration of PFAs. Also, there is the Federal Government assistance to state universities.

Records show that although education is on the concurrent legislative list, government has always assisted state universities through intervention agencies. Accordingly, the present special revitalisation programme covers both state and federal universities.

The agreement also includes the transfer of FGN landed property to universities. On this score, government has been clear that it cannot transfer government landed property to ASUU because it has no structure to manage or maintain such property.

However, government expressed its willingness to support any university that sets up a property company with management structure to compete with others in the industry.

With regards to setting up of research and development units by companies operating in Nigeria, government also expressed willingness to encourage companies to support research. The National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP), is leading this initiative.

Another highpoint of the agreement is Revitalisation of Nigerian Tertiary Institutions. On the status of implementation, there was consensus that revitalising the tertiary institutions is of critical importance to the nation.

It was also noted that when put together, the amount of funds from the budgetary and non-budgetary sources that goes into the sector is quite huge but without corresponding impact.

To arrest this trend, ASUU agreed with government to jointly undertake a needs assessment of the universities with a view to harnessing all the funds that hitherto go into the system in a haphazard manner and properly apply them to prioritised needs for maximum impact.

It was further agreed that these projects would also aim at expanding the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) base of the universities so that they will be financially capable of funding their recurrent expenditure, particularly the earned allowance.

Records from the office of the Secretary to the Federal Government (SGF), show that the committee has completed its work and the report has been approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) and the National Economic Council (NEC).

Already, the President has set up the Governor Gabriel Suswam Committee for its implementation and N100 billion has been harnessed for the committee’s disbursement and 61 universities are benefitting from this take-off programme. The expectation is that the programme will continue until the nation’s tertiary institutions wear a better look.

On the issue of earned academic allowances, it is worthy of note that traditionally, universities pay that to deserving staff but because of the amount ASUU now claims as arrears, government decided to assist the university councils to pay.

It should also be noted that government did not receive any computation of amount involved until February 2013. By this computation, ASUU is claiming N92 billion as arrears for three years’ payment based on percentage range of between 15 and 20 per cent of personnel cost.

After series of discussions involving the National Assembly, SGF, the Chairman of the Needs Assessment Report Implementation Committee, Governor Suswam, Ministers of Education, Labour and the Coordinating Minister for the Economy and other stakeholders, government provided N30 billion to support the university councils in settling the earned allowances.

The amount will be disbursed to the various university councils which are in the position to know who is entitled to how much after verification.

Based on all of these, many believe that government has demonstrated sufficient commitment to the implementation of the 2009 FG/ASUU Agreement, contrary to claims by ASUU.

A statement of update on the agreement signed by Special Assistant (Media) to the SGF, Sam Nwaobasi, said government acknowledges the contributions of the Non-Academic Staff Union (NASU), Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU), National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) and other stakeholders in finding a lasting solution to the current ASUU strike.

He said Mr. President is fully committed to bringing the students back to school and appreciates the patience of parents and students as government is making every effort to revitalise the university system.

THE SUN NIGERIA