On the first day of July this year, the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, began an indefinite strike that has lasted till date and may run deep into the future.
According to the union, the strike followed government’s inability to keep to an October 2009 agreement reached by both parties.
The agreement was reached after two years of negotiation between the lecturers and a government team appointed by the then Education Minister, Obiageli Ezekwesili.
The Government team was led by the then Pro-chancellor, University of Ibadan, Gamaliel Onosode while ASUU’s team was led by its then president, Abdullahi Sule-Kano.
The agreement reached at the negotiations included conditions of service for university lecturers, funding of universities, university autonomy and academic freedom, and issues that required legislation to implement.
Details of that agreement were held as confidential by both ASUU and the government, leaving the public to feed on crumbs of information thrown out at negotiation meetings between the two parties.
Premium Times has now obtained a copy of the agreement and is now making it available for public viewing.
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The agreement included details such as the breakdown of lecturers’ salary structure, staff loans, pension, overtime, and moderation of examinations.
Part of the agreement dwelt on funding of universities where both parties agreed that each federal university should get at least N1.5 trillion between 2009 and 2011 while state universities, within the same period, should receive N3.6 million per student.
The agreement also had parts that asked the re-negotiation committee to ensure that at least 26 percent of Nigeria’s annual budget was allocated to education, and half of that allocation to universities.
The agreement also asked that the 2004 Joint Admission and Matriculation Board, JAMB, Act, and the National University Commission Act 2004, be amended.
Text of the suggested amendment bills – including suggestion for amendment of the Education (National Minimum Standards and Establishment of Institutions) Act 2004 – were provided in the agreements.
The agreement was signed by Bolanle Babalakin, the then chairman of Committee of Pro-Chancellors of Federal Universities; Gamaliel Onosode, chairman of the re-negotiation committee; and Ukachukwu Awuzei, the then president of ASUU.
The agreement demanded a heavy financial commitment from the government and was an adaptation of an earlier agreement reached in 2001.
It is unclear how much of the agreement have been implemented by the government. However, the secretary to the federation, Pius Anyim, after one of the recent failed negotiations, said that most of the issues contained in the 2009 agreement, had been fully met except for the earned allowances estimated at N92 billion.
“Some of the issues which bothered on amendment of pensionable retirement age of academics in the professorial cadre, consolidated peculiar allowances (CONPUAA)- exclusively for university teaching staff, National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), setting up of budget monitoring committee in all public universities have been fully implemented,” he disclosed.
ASUU Chairman, Nasir Fagge,could not be reached to confirm how much of the agreement have been implemented.
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