By; Samson Yaki, Lafiya.
The Academic Staff Union of Uiniversity (ASUU) Nasarawa State University branch Keffi is billed to call off its three months old industrial action in an emergency meeting scheduled to hold Tuesday 31st May, 2016.
This is on the premise that the state government insists on the Union calling off the strike before their demands are met.
Governor Tanko Al-makura made this known in a media chat in commemoration of democracy day in Lafia.The Governor disclosed that government has made available the 20 percent of the Earned Academic Allowance, (EAA), it agreed to pay the Union but with a strict instruction that ASUU will get the payment only when it suspends the strike.”We have released 162 million naira to the university management but the Lecturers can only get the money if they suspend the strike” he said.
He explained that the reason for the decision is because of previous experience government had with the Union.
“By the time they went on strike, they were not owed any salary. What they are asking for is Earned Academic Allowance.
“This was about 800 million naira and the University administration was able to pay 400 million, remaining about 400 million.
“So they said if we can pay half of the remaining money they will not proceed on the strike.
“We paid 200 million Naira but they still went ahead with the strike. I mean that is a breach of agreement”, Al-makura lamented.For fear that the lecturers may pocket the money yet again and refuse to resume work, the governor therefore is not taking any chances.
“We have released the money into the University account and I have asked the management of the University to pay the lecturers as soon as they suspend the strike”, he stressed.It would be recalled that after its Congress meeting last Tuesday, the Union’s Chairman, Dr Theophilous Lagi said ASUU agreed in principle with the University Governing Council to suspend the strike as soon as members receive the money as agreed.
ASUU hinged its stand on the way and manner the government had handled their previous agreements.
“It is not once that we have reached an agreement with government and it reneged”, Lagi said.
“If they had kept to the agreement we reached before now, there wouldn’t have been any need to go on strike”, he added.When our reporter contacted the Chairman to confirm the scheduled emergency meeting, Doctor Lagi said, “when the decision to suspend the strike is taken, you’ll be the first to know”.
It is now clear that both ASUU and government have trust issues, and if they decide to continue with it, the hope of an end to the prolonged strike may not be in sight.
But the outcome of the Tuesday meeting will determine whether students are to happily dance down to school for academic activities or have their minds beclouded with the frustrating prospects of their future.