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ASUU close down Universities; begins nationwide strike

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) on Monday declared an indefinite strike nationwide.�The union adopted a resolution to go on strike after its ASUU-NEC meeting at the Olabisi Onabanjo University (OOU), Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State, from Sunday till Monday.

Fifty-one of the union’s 53 branches unanimously agreed to embark on the strike.�The action followed the default by the Federal Government to:

Honour the Academic Earned Allowance (AEA) which formed a component of the 2009 agreement the FG signed with the union.

Declaring the strike, ASUU Chairman at the University of Lagos (UNILAG) chapter, Dr Karo Ogbinaka, told reporters yesterday that the strike was a �painful yet inevitable decision”.He said ASUU was tired of the government’s inconsistency, adding that the union could no longer tolerate the insults.

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Throwing more light on the AEA, Ogbinaka said it includes allowances paid as part of excess work load responsibility allowance and the allowance for supervision of post-graduate programmes, for lecturers, heads of departments (HoDs), deans, examination officers, among others.He said the highest AEA is N12,500 per month, wondering why it was difficult for the government to live up to its promises.

Ogbinaka recalled that following the 2009 agreement, the Federal Government entered into an MoU with the ASUU and other academic bodies.�The union leader said after negotiation, the government agreed to also support tertiary education with N100billion.

He added: �Later, the government came out to say N100 billion was too much and might cause inflation. We again came down to N80 billion. But to our surprise, the Minister of Education and the NUC told us that the money was not included in the budget. Later, they promised it will be included in the supplementary budget.

�But later, the government said it could only pay 50 per cent of the N80 billion, which is about one quarter of the total amount. To complicate matter, the government said it would pay only one-off while universities would then continue to pay the rest.

�We felt this is a betrayal of the agreement and this is what forced us to convene this NEC meeting where 51 of our 53 branches nationwide unanimously agreed that the strike is the only solution.”

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