Paul Orude, Bauchi
The federal government says it is at the verge of resolving the disagreement between it and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) once and for all to pave the way for public university lecturers to call off their seven months old strike.
ASUU embarked on strike since March to press home demands for the implementation of the 2009 agreement and rejection of IPPIS payment platform for universities.
The Union had developed the University Transparency Account System in to replace IPPIS which they argue is unsuitable for University teachers but the federal government insisted on IPPIS.
While answering a question raised by a corps member during a Town Hall Meeting organised for youth in Bauchi, on Monday, on why federal government finds it difficult to honour agreements, the minister, said: “A government in this country went and sat down with ASUU to make an agreement on some conditions that it would pay universities N1.3 trillion.”
He said he believed that the agreement, when it was signed was not possible for them to be implemented.
“There is nowhere N1.3 trillion will come out from. The problem on the side of the government and ASUU is deciding on what to do because if a government appends its signature to an agreement, it is an agreement.”
The Minister said that the government was not happy and it is not folding its arms as the universities are shut.
“We are not happy that the school calendar is disrupted but the fault is in the government that signed what it knew it could not do. But I assure you that we at the verge of an agreement with ASUU,” he said.
While responding to a question raised at the parley by a teacher, Adamu said the President has pledged to be paying anyone who intends to be trained as a teacher immediately after secondary school.
“There is a pension scheme exclusively for teachers. All teachers’ children will be taught free in school. They won’t pay a single Kobo in the course of training their children.
“There will special allowances for rural postings, like hardship allowance. There is also preferential to housing scheme for teachers,” he said.
He said the President deeply appreciated the maturity displayed by the youths of Bauchi for not being part of the “misdirected agitation”. Saying that the genuine aspects of the grievances were promptly addressed, it somehow degenerated into avoidable loss of lives and property in some parts of the country.
“Please accept the firm assurances of Mr President not to take your support for granted. He will continue to reciprocate the good gesture of the government and the good people of Bauchi state.
“On our part, as your representatives in the government of Nigeria, we are very proud of the comportment of the youth in particular and the generality of the people of Bauchi State in the face of the current hardship which has been compounded by the economic downturn occasioned by the global crash in the price of oil and the ravaging effects of COVID-19 pandemic.
“Notwithstanding the hardship, we are wise enough not to adopt a solution which will inflict more hardship than the initial problem,” he said.