The Presidency on Tuesday said the Central Bank of Nigeria has confirmed that N200 billion â€“ amount agreed on by the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, and the Federal Government at a meeting with President Goodluck Jonathan on November 5- has been fully paid into a Revitalisation of Universities Infrastructure Account.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, Doyin Okupe, made the letter by the Deputy Governor of CBN, Tunde Lemo, addressed to the Accountant General of the Federation, Jonah Otunla, available to journalists on Tuesday in Abuja.
The letter, titled CONFIRMATION OF THE EXECUTION OF YOUR MANDATE FOR THE CREDIT OF ACCOUNT ON REVITALISATION OF UNIVERSITIES INFRASTRUCTURE ACCOUNT, indicated that the sum was paid in three tranches of N129.3 billion, N20.7 billion and N50 billion into the account as directed.
While reiterating that the president was fully committed to the implementation of agreements reached with ASUU, Mr. Okupe said a Needs Assessment Implementation Committee, with representatives of ASUU on board, would be inaugurated on Wednesday in order to fast-track the utilisation of the released funds and tackle infrastructural deficiency in the university system.
According to the presidential aide, government had received a number of representations from eminent Nigerians and stakeholders on the need to temper justice with mercy regarding the ultimatum issued to the striking lecturers to resume work or face stiff sanctions.
â€œGovernment appreciates the fact that a number of Universities have either resumed academic activities or announced resumption dates in line with the directives earlier issued by the Committee of Pro Chancellors. We appreciate the fact that many chapters of ASUU have resumed work and many more will follow suit shortly.
â€œGovernment is only desirous of normalcy in the educational sector in view of the importance of this sector to the society. Now that evidence has been provided as to the availability of the sum of N200 billion for immediate disbursement to universities, we expect that ASUU would call off this strike so that normalcy would fully return to our campuses. This is the only honorable path for our distinguished academics in the present instance,â€ Mr. Okupe said.
He insisted that government did not intend to victimise anyone who participates in a legitimate strike action, especially as Nigeria was a signatory to the International Labour Organisation convention which guarantees workersâ€™ rights to strikes convened in line with due processes.