Senate Committee, ASUU to reconvene over strike

Edwin Akwueh, Abuja

In a bid to avert the proposed nationwide strike action by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Chairman Senate Committee on Tertiary Institutions and TETFUND, Senator Jibrin Barau, says the adhoc sub-committee set up by Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki and the ASUU/Federal government delegations may reconvene on Thursday to thrash out the only outstanding issue yet to be agreed upon by the university lecturers and government representatives.

Senator Barau who is the head of the Senate Intervention Subcommittee mediating between ASUU and the federal government, noted that senate has made tremendous progress in its intervention to prevent the proposed strike having reached agreement on five out of the six key issues raised by ASUU.

Speaking to reporters at the National Assembly on the outcome of the subcommittee’s meeting with the ASUU and Federal Government’s delegation on Monday, Barau said “we had about six issues and all of them were very well discussed. We deliberated and agreed on all of them except one, and that one has to do with the earned allowances.”

Now, they (ASUU) are asking for about N62billion. Initially, N30billion was given to the universities in 2013 and the agreement as signed between the Federal Government and the ASUU clearly specifies that upon the receipt of any payment, before any new payment is made, the last payment has to be accounted for,” he added.

Senator Barau reiterated that “the Implementation Monitoring Committee (IMC) clearly wrote in one of its letters to the Ministry of Education that it is not satisfied with the level of accountability on the N30billion.”

“So, a letter was sent to the Ministry of Finance since March that the forensic audit to account for that money has not been done. They said no other further disbursement can be made except the money that was given is accounted for as clearly spelt out in the agreement,” he further said.

“We then said, wait, the fact that the forensic audit was not carried out was not the fault of ASUU. So we then agreed that for the exercise to be conducted, it was estimated by experts that it would take six months to conclude the exercise,” he added.