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FG authorised to access 5% pension funds, says ASUU

The Academic Staff Union of Universities in the Niger Delta University, Amassoma in Bayelsa State, has urged Nigerians not to allow the Federal Government to touch the Pension Fund.

Addressing a press conference at the university’s auditorium on Friday, ASUU chairperson for the school, Lucky Bebeteidoh, said the Pension funds is the life saving of many Nigerians and must not be exploited by the Federal Government.

He said, “Recently, we’ve watched the Minister of Finance say they want to dip their hands into the Pension Fund. That is the life saving of a lot of Nigerians.”

According to him, Nigerians must resist such a move, because the Federal Government is allowed by law to access only five per cent of the funds, but it wanted to have it all.

The NDU chapter of ASUU later staged a protest on Friday to press home the demands of the university staff unions, asking the Federal Government to honour several memoranda it signed with the union, especially in the area of funding to revitalise public universities in the country.

During the protest, Bebeteidoh told journalists that ASUU’s contentious issues with the government include illegal dissolution of governing councils, release of three months of withheld salaries, release of salaries of staff on sabbatical and release of third party deductions.

Others he said include payment of EAA, proliferation of private universities, implementation of Reports of Visitation Panels, implementation of UTAS in place of IPPIS and renegotiation of the 2009 agreement with ASUU.

Bebeteidoh said, “We are also calling on the state government to see how they can build infrastructures in the NDU.

“We need faculty buildings. Several of our faculties don’t have faculty buildings.

We need staff accommodation. We need offices for staff. We need laboratories.

How do you teach students without laboratories?“And we even need hostels for students. What we have here are not hostels.

We can’t in good conscience call them hostels.”Meanwhile, the Lagos Zone of ASUU said only President Bola Tinubu’s intervention can save public universities from being thrown into another round of prolonged strike action very soon.

The Chairman of the Zone, Prof Adelaja Odukoya, made the call at a press briefing held at the ASUU Secretariat of the Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago Iwoye on Friday.

Those in attendance at the briefing included leaders of ASUU from Tai Solarin University of Education, Ijagun, Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Lagos State University, University of Lagos, Olabisi Onabanjo University, among others.

In his address, Prof Odukoya said it was sad and painful that the current administration has failed to embrace proper funding of the universities but will rather continue to uphold the erstwhile tokenism that drove the universities into their present parlous condition.

He said the issues that may force the union to embark on another prolonged strike soon are the deliberate refusal of the Federal Government to sign and implement the re-negotiated FGN/ASUU Agreement, non-payment of Earned Academic Allowances (EAA) and arrears of promotion.

Others are non-release of third party deductions and criminal failure to implement the recommendations of the White Papers on Visitation Panels to Federal Universities and refusal to address the unending retrogressive proliferation of Universities.

He also condemned in strong terms the creation of more universities by the federal and state government when it has failed to fund the existing ones, noting that this is only encouraging duplication of duties with its attendant increase in overhead cost and expenditures.


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