The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) on Monday insisted that the Federal Government should implement the agreements reached in 2009 before it would call off its strike.
ASUU made its position known in Abuja when it appeared before the joint National Assembly Committees on Education.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that some of the issues in the agreement include: funding, university autonomy, academic freedom, earned academic allowance and registration of Universities Pension Management Company.
Other are: amendment of pension retirement age of academics at the professional cadre, federal assistance to state universities and transfer of Federal Government landed property to universities.
Chairman of ASUU, Dr Nasir Fagge, told the committee that only two out of the nine agreements had been met.
“We cannot renegotiate what was already agreed in 2009, so the best thing is, let government go and implement the aspects of the agreement as they have proposed to us themselves.
“Once that is done, I am confident that it will engender confidence among our members and our members nationwide will be able to review the situation at any moment and take appropriate decision.’’
Fagge expressed worry that the Federal Government was not fair in its dealing with the association.
He decried the situation whereby funds were being pumped into other sectors such as banking, aviation and textile industry that had challenges, yet education was continuously being neglected.
“If we really want to turn around the country, we must address the issue of education because it is the bedrock of development.
“I believe that one of the ways of addressing some of these issues is for government to implement the 2009 agreement as this will place education on a sound footing.’’
He noted that Nigerian students and lecturers were continuously leaving the country to neighbouring countries in search of better education and teaching conditions.
Speaking on the issue, Minister of Education, Prof. Ruqayyatu Rufai, told the committee that the Federal Government was working tirelessly to ensure that it met its own side of the agreement.
Rufai said the implementation of the agreement was not something that could be completed within a short period as it required a very long and tedious process.
“Two of the issues have been implemented up to 100 per cent and the other issues too, progress has been made as there has been an increase in funding.’’
Also speaking, Prof. Julius Okogie, Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission (NUC), told the committee that the tuition paid in universities in Nigeria was very low compared to other countries.
Okogie appealed to ASUU to call off the strike since negotiations were already on.
Some members of the committee including Sen. Oluremi Tinubu (ACN-Lagos) and Rep. Farouk Lawan (PDP-Kano), also appealed to ASUU to soften its stand and call off the strike in the interest of the students.
NAN reports that the committee later went into a closed session with the stakeholders.