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Minister of Education Adamu Adamu
Universities: Education Minister speaks on ASUU strike
Universities will not be exempted from Treasury Single Account (TSA), but negotiation with striking lecturers will continue to meet their demands.

The Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, said lecturers requested that universities should be allowed off TSA, but “I think government will not do this. “

“But there are some peculiar funds in the universities, like endowments, prizes and so on. Government will exempt those ones.’’

He however said that the government would continue its negotiations with ASUU to fulfill their demands.

At the end of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting on Wednesday, Adamu admitted that government had not fulfilled its own part of the agreements with the lecturers.

He acknowledged that ASUU had late last year issued a one-week strike notice leading to a meeting where agreements were reached but noted that the Association did not follow due process for the current strike.

He explained that they agreed on eight issues.

“Already, let’s say there was the issue of negotiation which is the only one they agreed that government has done what it promised because we set up the negotiation team and the negotiation is already on-going.

“There is the issue of their earned allowances and I think that because of some miscommunication what was promised could not be done but I am assuring ASUU and the nation that this is going to be done.

“There is the issue of registration for the Nigerian Universities’ Pension Commission.

“I think in that one, there are few issues that they need to sort out with the Nigerian Pension Commission and I believe that there will be no problem there.

“The other is the issue of their staff school which I think the court has given them the verdict to go ahead with it.

Adamu stated that he expected that government and the striking lecturers would reach trusted agreements on the demands.

Explaining further on the TSA, he said that because the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) does not give interest on it that was why endowments was exempted but other payments could be made into it.

He said that ASUU had been paid N30 billion of the allowances requested but because they were unable to render account of its disbursement it was stopped.

“The figures that I know, they have been paid N30 billion and the problem actually arose because they were not able to account for this N30 billion.

“And we said we will only give them the balance if they are able to account and the balance is N23 billion,’’ he said

The minister noted that the total demand was N53 billion, adding that government had the money to pay.

The minister re-affirmed his belief that ASSUU “is composed of patriotic people, very responsible’’, noting that it was one of the fruits of their struggle that led to the creation of the TETFUND.

He noted that without TETFUND today the university system could have collapsed, adding that he was not supporting ASUU but what was good.

Information Minister Lai Mohammed who also briefed on the memoranda submitted by the minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi, said that council approved contract for the rehabilitation of Ajaokuta-Itakpe rail line.

He said that it involved track laying, permanent way works and ancillary facilities area and completion of 12 railway stations in favour of Messr CCECC Nig Ltd in the sum of $122.62 million.

He said the amount was inclusive of all taxes at the prevailing CBN exchange rate of one dollar to N305 with a completion period of 15 months.

According to him, Ajaokuta to Warri track is in good condition and when the new contract is completed access to the seaport is achieved for the evacuation of goods.

Mohammed added that Amaechi also submitted a memo for the interim phase arrangement for the concession of the Nigeria’s narrow gauge railway system which was approved.

He said that the approval was to issue a letter of comfort to General Electric so that by October 2017 there would be full utilization of Lagos–Kano and Port Harcourt-Calabar–Maiduguri line.

He said it was part of the efforts to rehabilitate the 30,000 km narrow guage line and make it ready for haulage of goods and services.

According to him, from October there will be new 17 wagons to move at least a million tonnes of goods from the roads.

Mohammed added that council also approved the variation cost for the construction of one 150 MVA 330/133 KVA transformer at Birnin Kebbi and the reinforcement of a sub-station in Kumbutso, Kano for the transmission company of Nigeria. (NAN) (c) August 17, 2017.

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