The Academic Staff Union of Universities has said it rejected the Federal Government’s offer because it is “miserable”.
ASUU President, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, said this in a statement on Thursday and made available to The PUNCH. The statement was titled, ‘Why ASUU rejects government’s award of salary’.
Prof Osodeke asked the Federal Government, through the Ministry of Education, to return to the New Draft Agreement of the 2009 FGN/ASUU Renegotiation Committee whose work spanned a total of five and half years as a demonstration of good faith.
Last Tuesday, ASUU met with the FG through the Prof. Nimi Briggs committee.The statement read, “The major reason given by the Federal Government for the miserly offer, paucity of revenue, is not tenable. This is because of several reasons chief of which is poor management of the economy. This has given rise to leakages in the revenue of governments at all levels.
“There is wasteful spending, misappropriation of funds, and outright stealing of our collective patrimony. ASUU believes that if the leakages in the management of the country’s resources are stopped, there will be more than enough to meet the nation’s revenue and expenditure targets without borrowing and plunging the country into a debt crisis as is the case now.”
Prof Osodeke in the statement further explained that the government imposed the ongoing strike action on ASUU, saying FG had encouraged it to linger because of its provocative indifference.
However, According to ASUU, this is, no doubt, injurious to Nigeria’s aspiration to become an active player in the global knowledge industry.
“Rejecting a salary package arrived at through collective bargaining is a repudiation of government’s pronouncements on reversing “brain drain”. It is common knowledge that, more now than in the 1980s and 1990s, Nigerian scholars, especially in scarce areas like science and medicine, are migrating in droves to Europe, America and many parts of Africa such as South Africa, Rwanda, and Ghana with supportive environment to ply their trades as well as competitive reward systems for intellectual efforts. Does the Nigerian government care about what becomes of public universities in another five or ten years if this trend continues?”
Also, it stated that the New Draft Agreement had other major recommendations for the funding of major components of the renegotiated 2009 FGN/ ASUU Agreement, saying “one of such recommendations is the tax on cellphone and communication lines. Ironically, the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget, and National Planning recently announced its readiness to implement ASUU’s recommendation, as a revenue
source, but not for education, without acknowledging the Union!”