The Federal Government has shifted its grounds in negotiations with the Academic Staff Union of Universities, pledging to pay lecturers who resume by December 9th their salary arrears. The Government extended the deadline date to December 9th in order to allow the funeral of late ASUU leader, Festus Iyayi, continue without the bitterness of politics.
Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission (NUC), Julius Okojie, speaking to journalists in Abuja on Tuesday made the information available.
He said, “government decided to shift the deadline after it received the notification of Iyayi’s funeral rites late on Monday.”
“We just received information that the burial rites of Festus Iyayi begins on the 5 of December and would last till 7 December, so based on this information government decided to shift the resumption deadline to 9 December to enable lecturers participate in the burial.
“On the 4th of November, the President, Goodluck Jonathan, had a meeting with ASUU; in attendance were senior government officials, the Ministers of Labour, Finance, Education, NLC, TUC, including the SGF, Chief of Staff to the President and a host of others.
“I recall the remarks Mr President made that day, that was the climax that something has to happen, that all parties had to find a solution to the nagging problems of our universities.
“ASUU came out from that meeting which lasted for over 13 hours to say they would communicate with us through their principal officers; let me also emphasise that the drafting of that communique had the input of ASUU,” the NUC boss stated.
He said government would not stand back and allow students to continue to suffer, stating that December 9th must be the resumption date deadline.
“You cannot pay someone who has failed to resume work. You are on strike and you want to be paid. What if some have already left the system? Some of our very bright lecturers may have gotten jobs elsewhere already,” he said.