FG settles ASUU, approves N35.4 billion for tertiary institutions’ governing councils.
The Federal Government has approved about N35.4 billion for the governing councils of federal universities as part of the agreement with the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to suspend the current industrial action.
Both the Federal Ministry of Finance and the Accountant General of the Federation confirmed the payment of N15.390 billion as at 31st December 2018.
President Muhammadu Buhari also approved N20 billion for payment of outstanding arrears of the 2009 and 2012 earned academic allowances.
Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, disclosed these at the end of a meeting held in Abuja on Monday night.
Ngige hinted that government was considering granting a permanent license to ASUU to operate the National University Pension Fund Administrator Company (NUPENCO) that will manage the contributory pension of public universities.
To this end, the minister explained, that the Federal Ministry of Education has been directed to liaise with the National Pension Commission for the release of the permanent license.
Ngige said the Buhari administration would offer undisclosed amount from the N220 billion revitalization fund for universities, which was agreed during President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration but was not fulfilled.
According to him, ASUU is expected to return to the government between Wednesday 9, or Thursday, January 10, 2019, to sign relevant agreements reached by all the parties.
Biodun Ogunyemi, the ASUU president, who confirmed the agreement, however, noted that some of the proposals from government required further consultation with the union members and relevant organs of the union.
Meanwhile, the tenure of the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim Idris, who is billed to retire on the 15th of this month, may be extended at the instance of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who dropped the hint while briefing reporters in Abuja, said it would not amount to an act of illegality if Buhari took a cue from his predecessors, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, and the late Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, to extend the tenure of Idris.
Mohammed expressed surprise that members of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are crying wolf over the issue that clearly falls under the discretionary powers of President Buhari.
“President Obasanjo, in his time, extended the tenure of Mr. Sunday Ehindero as IGP. Was there no opposition party then? Also, in his time, Yar’Ardua extended the tenure of Mr. Mike Okiro as IGP, heavens didn’t fall. I have read that some opposition parties are planning a series of nationwide protests on the issue of IG’s tenure. That’s purely within their right in a democracy. And I wish them the best of luck.”
The minister, who enjoined the media to exercise restraint on the reportage of issues involving the ongoing onslaught against terrorists in the country, faulted claim by the opposition PDP that the launch of Operation Python Dance was politically motivated, aimed at rigging the poll.
On the controversy surrounding the appointment of Mrs. Amina Zakari as head of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Collation Centre Committee, he said the fear by the opposition parties was nothing but sheer hysteria, resulting from a pathological fear of impending political doom.