ASUU panel to monitor FG’s N25bn disbursement to varsities
The Academic Staff Union of Universities says it will monitor the disbursement of fresh N25bn by the Federal Government to public universities, which is expected to start in April 2019.
This was disclosed to SUNDAY PUNCH in an exclusive interview by the National President of ASUU, Prof Biodun Ogunyemi, on Friday, after the union had suspended its three-month strike on Thursday.
He said he and a former ASUU president, Dr Nasir Fagge, were members of an implementation committee which would disburse the funds to the universities.
Ogunyemi said the union believed that the government would be truthful in the disbursement of the funds for the revitalisation of public universities in accordance with the recommendation of the NEEDS assessment report, warning that if the government failed “to fulfil its obligation, the struggle continues.”
The disbursement of N25bn to the public universities for their revitalisation by April and May 2019 is the first point in the new Memorandum of Action 2019 signed on Thursday between the union and the Federal Government’s delegation led by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige.
ASUU began its strike on November 5, 2018, after its National Executive Council meeting in Akure, Ondo State, citing the failure of the government to honour its 2017 Memorandum of Action.
In the interview with our correspondent, the ASUU president said the disbursement of the funds to the universities would be strictly monitored to prevent misappropriation by some vice-chancellors as was allegedly witnessed in the past.
He said, “There is an implementation committee of the Federal Government, which also includes two ASUU executive members – I and a former national president.
The implementation committee is to disburse and monitor the N25bn which will be released to the public universities.
“That will happen by April/May 2019 when the government releases the funds. We believe that the government will be truthful to the 2019 MoA.”
When asked what would happen if the government fails to release the funds by April, Ogunyemi said, “We will cross the bridge when we get there.”
Earlier at a press conference, the ASUU president had spelt out the items in the newly-signed 2019 MoA.
He had added, “In addition to the N20bn for 2018, the sum of N25bn only would be released in April/May 2019, after which government would resume full implementation of the MoU of 2013.
“Secondly, there is the part-payment of the outstanding arrears of the earned academic allowances, defraying the balance up to 2018 in four tranches within 36 months and mainstreaming further payments of the Earned Academic Allowances into the annual budgets beginning from 2019 budget.
“Others are the release of the arrears of salary shortfall at the Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi, not later than February 15, 2019; strengthening the Consultative Committee on State-owned Universities inaugurated on Monday, January 28, 2019 and the payment of the outstanding EAA arrears of all eligible staff in the University of Ilorin, especially the loyal ASUU members whose appointments were illegally terminated.”