Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, has said that arrangement has been made by the federal government for the release of N23 billion to the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
Speaking before the Senate Committee on Tertiary Institutions and TETFUND, led by Senator Jibrin Barau, the Minister disclosed that the executive arm of government had commenced plans to ensure that it honoured the agreement with ASUU.
The Minister disclosed that the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, had already approved a total N53bn for the union so far, adding that the balance of N23bn would be released on Monday when the striking lecturers would receive the cheque.
He said: “ASUU asked for N23billion to be paid, but we said the condition for getting the N23billion was for them to account for the N30billion they had taken and they were not able to account for it.
“The Minister of Finance undertook to do the audit from the ministry and we agreed that the result will be known six months. During those six months, government undertook to be paying ASUU N1.5billion each month during the time they were waiting for this.
‘’However, their grouse was that the forensic audit promised by the Minister of Finance had not been done and the money promised not paid.
“So, at our meeting two days ago, the agreement was to pay them all and do forensic audit on the entire N53billion.
“That was what I tried to do yesterday (Wednesday). I wrote to the Minister of Finance and she has already approved and this money will be paid. Probably, by Monday, they will be able to receive the cheque.
“We didn’t agree with ASUU on their request that TSA should be taken out. I told them that it is not possible because it is a new policy and government is not going to change it for anyone.
“Concerning their salary short fall, we said the reason springs from universities employing people without proper authority.
“For instance, a university can just decide to go and recruit 50 people without notifying IPPIS. So, what they are going to get is the money they got last month, which will not be sufficient for them. We have told them that institutions should, henceforth, stop doing that and they accepted.
“There is the issue of registration of their pension commission. I think they have one or two issues to iron out with PENCOM and I believe they will also be able to solve the problem within a week.
“The issue of renegotiation is already ongoing, which will not affect what we have said. I have already written a letter formalizing the meeting and all the agreements we had with ASUU and gave them the letter yesterday.
“From the way they received it, I think it is possible that the strike will be called off within a week maximum.”
Chairman of the Committee, Senator Jibrin Barau, commended the Minister for his efforts towards ensuring that the situation was resolved and the strike called off.