February 2, 2012

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) commends the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) for the suspension of   its strike action against the Federal Government on funding and improving standards in our educational system.

The current agreement, which includes funding requirements for revitalizing the universities, progressive increase of annual budgetary allocation to 26% by 2020, amendment of pension/retirement age of those in professorial cadre from 65 to 70 years, and encouraging research by setting up research and development units by companies operating in Nigeria are laudable steps that will facilitate learning and strengthen the educational system in the interest of the nation.  

Of significance in the Agreement is that specific items have processes and   time lines for full implementation. For the revitalization of universities, government has accepted to immediately stimulate the process with N100 Billion and will build this up to a yearly sum of N400 Billion in the next three years.

While it accepted to progressively improve the budgetary allocation to education to 26% from 2013 to 2020, the President is expected to assent to the bill on 70 years retirement age for professorial academics not later than  February 2012. Also, for effective implementation of the agreement, Government is expected to meet with the expanded Implementation Monitoring Committee on quarterly basis to assess progress.

Even as we commend   ASUU and the Federal Government for this momentous Agreement, we wish to call on the government to be sincere and committed to its implementation within the accepted time frame, as reneging or observing the Agreement in the breach may result in the union resuming the industrial action with dire consequences for the country.

We recall that throughout the duration of the strike, which commenced on December 4, 2011, all academic activities were suspended.  In a dynamic world that is essentially knowledge – driven, the impact of this on national development could best be imagined. 

Thus, the Federal Government must approach the implementation of the current Agreement with all sense of responsibility.

The NLC also calls on the Jonathan administration to implement the meagre National Minimum Wage which the President himself signed into law in March, 23, 2011.

Chris Uyot,
Head of Infomration.