The strike action embarked upon by the members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has entered its 100th day Millions of students, including those
undertaking postgraduate programmes have been idling away at home for one hundred days.
The failure of the Federal Government to fulfil resolutions reached with ASUU in 2009 and non-payment of accumulated warned allowances owed the university lecturers are yet to be addressed. The face-off took a turn for the worse with members of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) threatening to join the strike by shutting down primary and secondary schools in the country in solidarity with ASUU. However, President Goodluck Jonathan, during a recent media chat, said that the lingering strike has political
undertone . Thousands of concerned parents bemoaned the length of the strike and the negative effect it has had on students. Among the affected students, LEADERSHIP discovered that there was a general air of gloom and anger directed towards the Federal Government and ASUU. The students express their disappointment that their suffering was not considered at all. “This has been 100 days of absolute shame. It is perhaps the highest mark of irresponsibility that the said leaders of tomorrow would be allowed to waste away like this while our counterparts in other countries and private universities leave us in the dust,” a fresh graduate awaiting NYSC mobilisation said. The ongoing strike affected business owners as well. LEADERSHIP caught up with some traders in Gwagwalada, Abuja, and it’s a collective tale of woe and worry.
Their losses have consistently piled up since the strike commenced three months ago and many of them have been forced to find alternative means of making ends meet. ASUU: FG Faults VCs over N35b Un-
accessed Funds As the nation’s tertiary education remains grounded, the Federal Government has blamed the university management for not accessing over N35 billion due to them from the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund). Speaking at a meeting with pro- chancellors/vice chancellors of federal and state universities on October 8, 2013,
Tuesday, in Abuja, the supervising minister of education, Barr. Nyesom Wike, said as at June ending, about N73.87 billion which should be disbursed to universities is still lying idle due to one reason or the other.
Wike disclosed that, out of the said
amount, N35b representing 47 per cent is due to varsities. Funds un-accessed by polytechnics are estimated at N16b (21 per cent) while colleges of education has N12b
(16 per cent) yet to be accessed. The minister wondered why the institutions would cry that they lack adequate funding while there are released funds by TETFund running into billions of naira still waiting to be accessed.
Meanwhile, the Committee of Vice-chancellors have blamed the federal
government for the inability to utilise the interventions, arguing that there are various difficult conditions attached to the disbursements which prevented them from accessing the funds. Wike disclosed that about 21 were yet to utilise their interventions. These include the universities of Benin, N1.6b; Ibadan, N2.7b; Ahmadu Bello University, N2.2b; Maiduguri N1.1 billion, UNN N2.8b, Tafawa Balewa N2b, Bayero University Kano N2.3b, Federal University of Technology Owerri N1.6b, Jos N3b, Port Harcourt N3b, Obafemi Awolowo N2b, Niger Delta University N2.2b. Others include: Usman dan Fodio University N2.8b, Anambra State University N4.1b, University of Markurdi N2.3b, Federal University of Technology
Yola N2.8b, Kebbi State University N2.8b, University of Lagos N4.3b, University of Calabar N4.3b and Nigeria Defence Academy N472m.
The minister said the institutions who defaulted in accessing their funds must give satisfactory answers or necessary sanctions await them. Earlier, the board chairman of TETFund, Dr. Musa Babayo, explained that funds can only be released to the varsities when they meet all the conditions.
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