FG agrees to pay ASUU N30bn as strike continues

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The Federal Government has agreed to release N30 billion as part payment of the Earned Academic Allowances (EAA) to the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).

The money will be paid in tranches between May 2021 and February 2022.

Senator Chris Ngige Minister of Labour and Employment who disclosed this at the end of a meeting between the Federal Government and ASUU on Friday in Abuja said students were being recruited into the #EndSARS protests following the closure of universities occasioned by the ASUU strike.

He expressed the hope that ASUU would call off the strike soon, noting that the government had been finding ways to end the seven-month strike.

“For the past one week, we have all been on our toes; we have been meeting and we pray that this meeting will yield some good fruits”. Ngige said.

“The Accountant General of the Federation (AGF) was committed to release N30 billion on or before Nov. 6.

“The remaining N10 billion would be spread equally over the two tranches to be paid in May 2021 and February 2022 respectively. The OAGF should quickly conclude the verification of figures of EAA claims so as to clean up the figures from 2014 to 2020.

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“To this end, a committee would be constituted by NUC to develop a template that would capture all the agreed allowances in the 2009 Agreement for all the Unions in the Universities.

“Thereafter, the OAGF and the National University Commission (NUC) are to quickly conclude the verification of the EAA figures, so as to defray the payment from 2014 to 2020. ASUU is to work with the OAGF and NUC to achieve that by the end of December,” he said.

While Ngige led the federal government’s team, the President of ASUU, Biodun Ogunyemi, led the representatives of the lecturers’ union.

On the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) rejected by the union, the meeting was informed that ASUU has met its timeline regarding the first stage of the initial demonstration of the efficacy of the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) to government as this was done on Wednesday, October 14, 2020.

“The meeting also agreed that if UTAS passes all the different stages of the integrity test which would involve National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) and the Office of the National Security Advisers (NSA) and after ascertaining its efficacy; it would be adopted for the payment of the University staff.”

The conciliatory meeting is to reconvene by October 21 by 3.00 p.m. after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting for ASUU to report back on the decision of her NEC, in order to facilitate the calling off their strike, the statement read.