University lecturers, under the auspices of Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, yesterday, denied any knowledge of the N200 billion said to have been deposited at the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, by Federal Government, as a way of resolving the six months old strike which had paralysed academic activities in the nation’s universities.
ASUU also lamented that government was fond of rushing to the media with propaganda and falsehood, instead of resolving the contentious issues headlong, and vowed to continue with the strike until it was officially notified about the payment.
Meanwhile, Arewa Consultative Forum, ACF, and former Chairman of the Enugu State Council of Traditional Rulers, Igwe Simeon Itodo, yesterday appealed to ASUU members to call off the strike in the interest of students, parents and the educational system in the country.
Read the President Statement here : What does ASUU want? we have met all their conditions, says Okupe
No evidence— ASUU
“As I speak to you, we are yet to get any evidence of the payment as claimed by government.
“Our union is still expecting an official reply of the letter we wrote to the President through the Supervising Minister of Education on November 22.
“It is very simple. All we request from the Federal Government is to document all it said it has done and will do, and get it duly signed by the Attorney-General of the Federation.
“When this is done, then we expect the Federal Government to invite our union for a meeting so that the final document can be duly recognised and signed by both parties.
“As a union of intellectuals, we see the government’s claims as payment on pages of newspapers.”
Reacting to the extension of the sack threat deadline to November 9, Ajiboye said: “The threat to sack over 30,000 lecturers is laughable.
Our members are resolute to salvage the decadence in our educational system. So, we are unperturbed by the threat.”
On individual varsities resuming
On some universities that had already resumed academic activities, the don said: “I can assure you, that there is no university where teaching is taking place.
“Mind you, universities have not been totally shut down in the last six months. Just that academic activities were stopped.
“So if administrative activities are going on, it would be wrong to say that universities have resumed. Look, when Vice Chancellors go into the classroom to teach with armed policemen, can we say teaching is taking place?”
On his part, Dr. Idris Adekunle, Chairman of ASUU, Lagos State University branch, said: “If you had discussions with some group of people and some resolutions where reached, I think it is logical to write the people you had discussions with stating your new position.
“After our meeting with government on November 4, we wrote government on November 8 and 22, stating some grey areas, which we believe govern-ment should meet to end this strike.
“But for reasons unknown to us, the government never replied our letters. Now, it is claiming it has made payment of the N200 billion revitalisation funds for universities into a CBN account.
“As a union made up of intellectuals, ASUU cannot just believe that payment has been made, which is only on the pages of newspapers.
“Even if government writes us that it has deposited the money, providing an account number, we must confirm the payment from CBN.
“I must lament that I see all these as normal government’s propaganda. The government is playing with the lives and future of our children using personalities we already know.
“This is not helping this nation. However, ASUU is resolute to ensure government is accountable and responsive to the people.
“Once we get government’s official letter, inviting us for a meeting, we will call-off the strike after the resolutions reached must have been signed by both parties.”
Meanwhile, ACF in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Anthony Sani, said: “Now that Nigerians have been told by the Federal Government and ASUU that necessary agreements and planned actions have been completed preparatory for resumption of lectures, and that all that remain is mere paper works needed for the agreements and planned actions to find expression, ACF wishes to call on ASUU to please hasten the completion of the said paper works with a view to calling off the strike forthwith in the interest of the students, parents and educational system.”