ASUU: Government expects to make payments early enough to prevent strike

NEWS DIGEST – The Nigeria government is certain it can make all necessary plans in time to stop another industrial action by the Academic Staff Union of Universities.

ASUU’s recent strike was a 9-month long industrial action that ended in December after a promise by the Nigerian government to commit a cumulative N65 billion to address concerns on the revitalisation of universities and earned academic allowances of lecturers.

Labour Minister Chris Ngige told Channels Television on Tuesday that the Ministry of Education would, on Wednesday, begin its process of disbursing the funds to various universities.

“The strike will not happen,” Mr Ngige said, noting the government’s resolve to do everything in its power to stop the strike.

Mr Ngige revealed that the funds would be paid directly into the universities’ accounts.

But the government faces a race against time to meet ASUU’s deadline.

ASUU expects any last-ditch effort to forestall its intended strike to be done within the 21-day ultimatum. The federal government, however, cannot remit “the second charge” without the audit of the previous fund disbursed to the universities.

“As of the last meeting, 11 universities had not satisfactorily done that and, therefore, we gave a timeframe of two weeks to get those universities to conform and they would release the money,” he said.

Mr Ngige remains confident that the federal government can sort all “low-hanging fruits” in time to prevent another strike.

“There are no problems because the money is already there,” he added.