The university unions’ and Federal Government renegotiation committee sitting will end today.
The PUNCH reported that the Federal Government on March 7, 2022, inaugurated a seven-person committee tasked with the renegotiation of the 2009 agreement reached with the Academic Staff Union of Universities and the other three unions including, The Joint Action Committee of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities and Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions and The National Association of Academic Technologists.
The committee which was chaired by Pro-Chancellor, Alex Ekweme Federal University Ndufu-Alike, Emeritus Professor Nimi Briggs was given three months to conclude the renegotiation with ASUU and other unions.
According to ASUU and SSANU national presidents, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke and Mr Mohammed Ibrahim respectively, the Briggs committee has been meeting with the various unions since May 2022 to renegotiate their agreements.
Osodeke told our correspondent ‘‘There is progress but it depends on the government side. We had a fairly good meeting we are still trying to resolve the issues.
“Until we get the final report from the government. We are trying to work in the same direction. They are also testing UTAS.’’
It is believed that the committee would submit its report to the FG this week or they could be given an extension.
The Committee, which is expected to review the draft proposed FGN/ASUU Agreement, has the following Terms of Reference, liaise and consult with relevant stakeholders to finalise the position of the Federal Government to the issues in the draft proposed FGN/ASUU Renegotiated Agreement; renegotiate in realistic and workable terms the 2009 Agreements with other University-Based Unions; negotiate and recommend any other issue the Committee deems relevant to reposition the NUC for global competitiveness; and submit proposed draft agreements within three months from the date of inauguration.
Likewise, all the unions are presently on strike over unmet demands of the 2009 agreements with the unions.
ASUU commenced its ongoing strike on February 14, 2022, after the Federal Government failed to meet some of its demands including, the release of revitalisation funds for universities, renegotiation of the 2009 FGN/ASUU agreement, release of earned allowances for university lecturers, and deployment of the University Transparency and Accountability Solution.
SSANU’s strike started with a warning strike of two weeks which commenced on March 27, 2021, while the extension of another two weeks commenced on Sunday April 10, 2022. It is ongoing, having being reported that it has been extended by a month.
Some of the demands of SSANU include the inconsistent issue of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System, unpaid earned allowances, and delay in the renegotiation of FGN, NASU, SSANU agreements, and non-payment of minimum wage arrears.
Others include neglect and poor funding of state universities, non-payment of retirement benefits to outgoing members of the unions, and usurpation of the headship of non-teaching units in clear violation of conditions of service and establishment procedures, among others.
Other members of the Briggs committee are Pro-Chancellor, Federal University, Wukari, Arc. Lawrence Patrick Ngbale, who represents North East; Pro-Chancellor, Federal University, Birnin Kebbi, Prof. Funmi Togunu-Bickersteth, representing South West and Pro-Chancellor, Federal University, Lokoja, Senator Chris Adighije, representing South East.
Also on the team are Pro-Chancellor, Federal University of Technology, Minna, Prof. Olu Obafemi from North-Central; Pro-Chancellor, Kano State University of Science & Technology, Prof. Zubairu Iliyasu, representing North West; and Pro-Chancellor, Niger Delta University, Wilberforce Island, Mathew Seiyefa from South-South.