Updated: The government does not seem to want peace

Johnbosco Agbakwuru

NOT teaching staff at universities have promised not to return to work if the Federal Government fails to correct an alleged imbalance in the distribution formula of about N40 billion in allowances earned.

The government reportedly gave the University University Staff Union, ASUU, about 75 percent of the allowances earned, and 25 percent to the remaining unions of the Nigerian University Senior Staff Association, SSANU, the Non-Academic Education and Education Staff Union, NASU, and the National Association of Academic Technologists, NAAT for sharing.

But NAAT and SSANU have threatened not to continue unless the government corrects an alleged imbalance in the distribution of earned allowances, arguing that while ASUU has about 75 percent of the money, each of the three unions will receive less than nine percent.

Reacting to the division formula, NAAT President National President Comrade Ibeji Nwokomma said that anyone who thinks non-teaching staff unions at universities will continue with recent developments has dreamed unless the government corrects the imbalance.

According to him, “My union rejects the formula for distributing earned allowances, as the government is currently doing. The government has allocated 75 percent of the money to ASUU and 25 percent to all other non-teaching unions at universities, which is extremely inadequate.

“It robs Peter to pay Paula and use the quarrel and rule in the university system. No union, not even ASUU, has a monopoly on opening or closing schools through strikes, other unions also have that capacity to ensure that the system does not work.

“Secondly, my union, ASUU and other unions have negotiated with the government, so the payment of earned benefits will be based on the unions, which should be based on the 2009 Agreement, where the earned benefits come from.

“So associating my union with other non-teaching staff is neither here nor there and is completely unacceptable to us.”

Continuing, he said, “We had a Memorandum of Understanding with the government that was just signed on November 15 and that says the government should clearly define what each union should go for and the government agreed to do that, and today the money was just shared anyway they want it without adhering to the MoU we had with the government.

“My union is asking for our own earned fees, regardless of what is being done, as well as ASUU.

“If nothing is done, we will close the system until we are treated fairly.

“The government should convene a meeting immediately to resolve this issue, otherwise any thinking that the school will reopen, they are just wasting time, the school will not open until these issues are adequately addressed.”

He said that he is making efforts to get in touch with the director and permanent secretary of the Ministry of Education in order to draw their attention to the beer crisis.

Also speaking, the national president of SSANU, comrade Mohammed Haruna Ibrahim, said that his union would not accept a unilateral sharing formula.

He said, “Honestly, I believe this remains a rumor even though I know it could be true, I have seen 75 percent and 25 percent.

“But really, if that is the case, we have unequivocally stated that we will not take such a unilateral award again, because what scientific measurement was used to obtain this money. We have already stated earlier that the least we can take is 50-50, they are not more numerous.

“And even if they want to do something similar, maybe this is my personal opinion, maybe I won’t insist on 50-50, but at least on something reasonable. We have so many numbers.

“If they give 60-40, for example, do you think there will be noise?” The government does not want peace if 75 percent gives to only one union and 25 percent gives to three unions, does it make sense?

“Certainly, my members are more than willing to tear down the tool if this becomes a reality.”

Vanguard News Nigeria

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