Reps Determined To Resolve ASUU Crisis, Empower Youths – Gbajabiamila

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The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila has said the parliament is determined to resolve the issues facing the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).

Gbajabiamila disclosed this on Wednesday when he met with a group of young lawmakers from the House under the aegis of ‘Young Parliamentarians Forum’ of the National Assembly in his office.

According to him, some of the demands of the youths following the EndSARS protests would be addressed constitutionally.

Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila to resolve asuu crises
Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila

“We are determined to resolve the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) matter, and if we can resolve two out of three issues, I think we would have gone a long way to help the lecturers who are on strike,” Gbajabiamila was quoted as saying according to a statement issued by his spokesman, Lanre Lasisi.

“There’s a bill on vocational education, I think from the 8th Assembly that was even my bill. We’ll pick it up again and pass it to you (Young Parliamentarians Group) to polish it up and add it to whatever ideas you have.”

On youth empowerment, Gbajabiamila said: “This government has done a lot about youth empowerment and is ready to do more. We can never be bereft of ideas.

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“If you have anything that we need to look at, the House is willing and ready to add to those ideas. We will be happy to accelerate bills on youth development.”

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Speaking on police reforms, the Speaker called for more reformed police that will serve Nigerians better. He explained that the parliament was liaising with the Nigeria Bar Association in achieving the target of 30 days.

“We gave ourselves 30 days, and since then, we’ve been working night and day, especially with the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA).

“We thought the best way to go about it is that we amend the Police Service Commission Act, and that has been done and the report has been concluded and soon, it will be published and be on the floor,” he added.

ASUU, FG continue negotiation

Meanwhile, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and the Federal Government are currently meeting to resumed their negotiation over the strike embarked upon by the lecturers.

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They had adjourned their meeting till Monday after the meeting last Wednesday ended in a deadlock.

The parley is expected to decide on the platform for the disbursement of the funds pledged by the FG.

The FG team had offered to pay the salary arrears and the N30 billion earned allowances of the university lecturers through the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System platform pending the roll-out of ASUU’s preferred platform, the University Transparency, and Accountability Solution.

But the ASUU delegation reportedly insisted that the university teachers would not enrol on the government salary platform.

The Minister of State, Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo, announced the continuation of the meeting on Monday; “Our discussions/negotiations with the Academic Staff Union of Universities continue today,” he tweeted.

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, is leading the FG’s team while the ASUU president, Biodun Ogunyemi, leads the lecturers.

The PUNCH reports that the meeting between FG and ASUU deadlocked last Wednesday, following the disagreement over the payment platform that would be used in disbursing the salary arrears and the N30bn Earned Allowances of the university lecturers.

The spokesman, Ministry of Labour and Employment, Mr. Charles Akpan, explained that the meeting adjourned till Monday to enable the union leaders to get across to their members on the mode of payment.

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Among other things, the government had agreed to pay N40bn, being the pending Earned Academic Allowance of the university teachers overdue since November 2019.

Out of the amount, N30bn would be paid on or before November 6, while the remaining N10bn would be spread equally over two tranches to be paid in May 2021 and February 2022.

The two parties equally agreed to the planned release of N30b for the revitalisation of the education sector.

The government offered to pay N20b as funding for the revitalisation of public universities by January 2021 as well as seek sources of alternative and additional funding for the university system, among other conclusions.

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Chila Andrew Aondofa

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