The Brekete Family Programme, a reality radio and television talk show has suspended its proposed N20 billion ASUU Crowd Intervention Fund aimed at resolving the lingering crisis between the union and the Federal Government.
Ahmed Isa, Ordinary President of Brekete Family Programme, suspended the intervention fund in Abuja on Saturday during a live programme as the officials of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), led by Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke dissociated itself from the intervention.
Isa urged the union not to hold the government to ransom as it members were not ready to listen to the voice of peace, mediation and reconciliation, urging the government to take necessary action against them.
He expressed concern for the suspension of the fund, especially as a donation of N50 million was received in the studio from Gov. Emmanuel Udom of Akwa Ibom and many Nigerians were also willing to contribute to the fund.
He said that the target was to raise N20 billion so that people of integrity would be nominated as trustees.
According to him, the money will be handed over to the trustees, who will in turn give it to the Federal Government for onward transfer to the union to end the lingering strike.
” I am an individual and as a leader is trying to ensure that the crisis is resolved and the union is saying no to the whole process, it is so disappointing.
” I don’t know what will be the next action. I have suspended the crowd funding. After thinking it over, and if there is need for me to revisit it, I will but if not, I will refund everybody’s money and I will withdraw the N10 million I have contributed.
“Udom Emmanuel that has just lost the presidential ticket brought N50 million cash and others were willing to come because I said I was not willing to shift the date I gave. I gave two weeks for us to raise this money and we have the money.
” If only 36 people would bring N50 million, we will have the money. If 20 million Nigerians will contribute N1,000 each, we will have N20 billion. 20 million Nigerians is equivalent to less than 10 per cent of Nigeria population.
” If we cannot solve our own problems, then something is fundamentally wrong with us as a people,” he said.
The President of ASUU, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke had earlier said that the name of the union should not be used to raise fund as its demands were for the generality of the university system.
Osodeke said that the decision to dissociate from the intervention fund was because decisions made at the union level was from bottom to top, hence members would have to resolve whether they agree or not.
” ASUU’s decision are taking bottom-up. We have not discussed it and if the organisation says go ahead, then I can participate.
“Individuals and even alumni do contribute to the funding of education. What we are saying is that the Federal Government should make university their first point of consultation but this hasn’t happened,” he said.
ASUU president said that most of the problems associated with the strike were due to the delay in the visitation panels sent to the universities.
According to him, visitation panels are supposed to be set up by law every five years with the role of coming to universities to look at issues bothering them and come up with white papers on recommendation on how to resolve the problems.
” Visitation panel was set up in March 2021 and up till now, the white papers are yet to be released and this is part of the issues leading to crisis in our universities.
“In 2019, we had agreement with the government that captured the funding of universities, welfare of staff and students and the rest. We signed this agreement and the document was given to the government for implementation.
” We have so many issues like poor infrastructural facilities, a situation where in a university, a 12 by 12 room was occupied by 12 students and also a situation where students cook with stone as well as students sitting on bare floor during lecture; and we wrote our reports.
“The report was sent to the Federal Executive Council (FEC) and it was agreed that N1.3 trillion which is the origin of the NEEDS assessment would be given to the universities but this has not been done.
“In 2013, we reached an agreement that the N1.3 trillion should spread within six years but since that time the government has only given N15 million, this is the origin of the problems,” he said.
Osodeke called on the government to accept the UTAS payment system, saying it had passed 99.3 per cent competent test on functionality compared to “the IPPIS which has been proven to be fraudulent”.
He insisted that the union would not allow the IPPIS payment platform because it was contracted out, adding that salaries should not be allowed to be paid by someone outside the country.
According to him, every organisation has a duty to funding education, we are, we are not against them, what we are saying is the we must follow the normal process.
He, therefore, urged parents to take over the struggle to end the lingering strike permanently
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that ASUU had embarked on a nationwide warning strike from Feb. 14 to press home its members’ demands.
The first warning strike started on Feb. 14, for four weeks and the second strike commenced on March 15, for another four weeks, while the third one was announced on May 9, for another 12 weeks.
The lecturers’ demands include funding of the Revitalisation of Public Universities, Earned Academic Allowances, University Transparency Accountability Solution (UTAS) and promotion arrears.
Others are the renegotiation of 2009 ASUU-FG Agreement and the inconsistency in Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System. (NAN)