The Academic Staff Union of Universities (Asuu) has denied receiving funding from the federal government over its ongoing nationwide strike.
The Union’s Ibadan Zonal Coordinator, Ade Adejumo, made this known while reacting to reports credited to Nigeria’s Minister of Labour, Chris Ngige, that the government released N163 billion to public universities from the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund).
Concise News had reported that Ngige made this known while speaking with newsmen after a closed-door reconciliatory meeting with the leadership of the union on Monday in Abuja.
“Government has released about N163 billion from TETFund account to universities. So, we have gotten some substantial agreement in most of the areas of the agreement,” he said.
“Most of the issues are being resolved, so they are going to go back to their members and present government’s offer to their council.”
But Adejumo called on the government to stop “misinforming” Nigerians.
He said: “For the umpteenth time, let it be known that our union is a patriotic organisation whose activities are driven by principled conviction that the resources of the country can better be managed for the ultimate benefit of the Nigerian society, especially the education sector which is our immediate constituency.
“The government and all civilized individuals are aware of how the university is managed, so also the resources available to it. The government knows that it is the council and the university administration that receive and spend all the money coming into the university.
“Asuu doesn’t receive money from the government and doesn’t spend it. Even money meant for our salaries and other allowances come directly to the university administration which prepares the budget and manages it.
“Asuu members collect only their salaries as paid by the university. Contracts and all the capital projects are awarded by the councils that are appointed by the government, not Asuu.
“It is in the context of the above that our union calls on the Vice-Chancellors and council chairmen to stop behaving like vultures that wait silently by the sidelines, waiting for the game to fall only to descend on the carcass.
“They should join forces with Asuu in its struggles to attract requisite funding into our public universities rather than working at cross purposes with us.
“Part of the least expected from them is to come out openly to put the record straight each time the government come out with the deliberate falsehood that money has been released to Asuu.
“They, the council and the vice-chancellors, are the receiving and spending agents. Simple honour demands that they publicity own up to this fact. Their silence in this regard leaves room for unfair speculation about Asuu.”
The Union commenced the strike on 4 November, 2018, to press home their demands.
Asuu’s demands include some areas of understanding in the implementation of the Memorandum of Action agreed with the government in 2017.