Paid entitlements: new strike looms in universities in the country over formula sharing


The National Association of Academic Technologists has given a 14-day notice of strike to the Federal Government.

University staff are opposing the perceived imbalance in the distribution of N40 billion won allowances to the four university unions.

They are also seeking the allocation of 50 per cent of the N71 billion unpaid allowances payable to union members on the grounds of the 2009 deal with the government.

The President of NAAT, Ibeji Nwokoma, told reporters in Abuja on Saturday that the organisation had written to Senator Chris Ngige, Minister of Labor and Jobs, informing him of their proposed industrial action.

He said, “We have written to the government that NAAT as a body ought to have been given a specified percentage of the N40bn. You must define it; you can’t just say ASUU 75 per cent and others 25 per cent. Let us know the specific percentage you are giving to NAAT as a union.

“In the MoU we entered with the government on November 18, in item number 2b, we demanded that in sharing the N40bn released, that government should clearly define what is going to be allocated to each union and government agreed to the genuineness of our demands and said NUC (National Universities Commission) and Federal Ministry of Education will work it out in conjunction with the union and what they have done negated completely the spirit of that MoU.”

Nwokoma said the union members would not resume if the government failed to respond to their demands.

He said, “We have given the government an ultimatum of 14 days. We wrote to government 30th December and we have given 14 working days and if at the end of the 14 working days our demands are not met, we resume our suspended strike.

“Definitely, we will close down the schools. If anybody thinks that ASUU has called off their strike and that schools will reopen, then let the person dare us. Let us know how effective or how possible it is for schools to reopen when technologists are on strike.”

Nwokoma argued that the 2009 agreement ought to have been renegotiated, but lamented that it has not been fully implemented.

The NAAT president explained that the university laboratories and studios were in terrible condition due to negligence of the tertiary institutions by the government.

He said, “We demanded that the government should release N100bn because if you go to all the universities, you will discover that the laboratories are dilapidated. We asked the government to release N100bn to bring the laboratories to international standard and then release another N20bn every year for the next five years for the revamp of the laboratories.”

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