Following the meeting between Vice President Namadi Sambo and the leadership of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, last Friday, Scan News can authoritatively reveal that appreciable progress has been made as the Federal Government may have shifted grounds once again.
One of such areas where the Federal Government shifted ground is in the area of earned allowances. A source at the meeting told Scan News that the Federal Government has added N10billion to the N30billion it initially released, making the funds available for the payment of earned allowances, N40billion.
The Federal Government further agreed to ensure that more funds will be released for the continuation of the payment of earned allowances as soon as the universities exhaust the N40billion.
It was also gathered that the Federal Government announced the increment of the infrastructural development fund from N100billion to N150billion, while the leadership of ASUU was fully included in the contract awarding and execution process.
The ASUU leadership had flayed Governor Suswam committee for excluding it from the contract awarding and execution process, after they originated the idea of projects. ASUU leadership at all levels will now be directly involved in the process alongside Federal Government and Governing Councils of Universities.
Scan News source added that the October 11 meeting further agreed that the respective governing councils of the universities should determine projects to be executed with the funds, while the Suswam committee will henceforth take a back seat.
The Federal Government, it was learnt, informed ASUU that the Federal and State Universities still have over N100billion un-accessed at the Tertiary Education Trust Fund, TETFund. The ag. Executive Secretary of TETFund and the Universities Governing Councils were directed to immediately commence the process for the use of these funds.
With the development, the Federal Government has injected N250billion to be used in the revival of both Federal and State Universities. This is the first time since Independence that such holistic improvement in funding will ever take place in the nation’s universities.
However, it was learnt that VP Sambo told the Universities Governing Councils and ASUU members now part of the contract awarding and execution process that the Jonathan administration will not tolerate any misappropriation of the funds.
He announced the setting up of a high powered monitoring and evaluation committee for all the geo-zones to ensure that the funds are judiciously used.
ASUU leadership at the meeting told the VP that they were optimistic that their members would permit them to call off the strike shortly after the Sallah holiday.
When Scan News called ASUU President, Dr Nasir Fagge on Thursday morning, his line was switched off. However, another official who pleaded anonymity said that the ASUU leadership has informed members to their respective leadership and the recent developments is receiving positive attention.
On the part of government, Dr MacJohn Nwaobiala, Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education, told market women who protested last Monday that the October 11 meeting was very fruitful and that Nigerians will soon hear positive news on the ASUU strike.
It would be recalled that on Friday October 11, Scan News was the only medium that authoritatively reported the meeting of VP Sambo and ASUU leadership. The VP was accompanied to the meeting by Supervising Minister of Education, National Universities Commission, TETFund, while some Vice Chancellors and Governing Councils witnessed the meeting.