Federal Government Shows Evidence of N200bn Payment to ASUU

Federal Government Shows Evidence of N200bn Payment to ASUU:

The presidential aide addressed the media on Wednesday.

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, Doyin Okupe, has provided evidence that the Federal Government has opened an account for public universities at the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN.

The opening of the account and disbursement of N200 billion to the universities within two weeks was one of the demands made by ASUU before they would call off the five months old strike.

ASUU president, Nasir Fagge, had stated in an interview with Channels TV that the opening of the account and the disbursement of the money to the Universities would make the lecturers call off the strike.

“Once that is done, and the committee that is supposed to disburse the funds starts working, our members will have no reason not to suspend the strike action,” he said.

Mr. Fagge had also addressed a press conference on Monday in which he stated that a central monitoring committee should be established to monitor the usage of the revitalisation fund and should submit quarterly reports to the Minister of Education.

Speaking to journalists in his office on Wednesday, Mr. Okupe showed reporters evidence of correspondences between the office of the Accountant General of the Federation, AGF, and the Central Bank.

The documents showed that on November 13, the AGF authorized the banking and payment system department of the Central Bank of Nigeria via a letter with reference number FD/OAGF/220/ADC/1/4DF to open a “revitalization of Universities Infrastructural Account” with the CBN.

Also, on November 29, the Central Bank confirmed in a letter reference BPSD/BSD/CON VOL 17/088 to the Accountant General of the Federation that the said account had been opened and an account number was given.

Mr. Okupe said prior to these, the Director of Funds in the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation, M.K. DIKWA, through a letter reference FD/LP2008/37/C/I/DF,and dated November 8, communicated with the Executive Secretary of the Nigeria Universities Commission, NUC,Julius Okojie, requesting for the list of federal universities in Nigeria for the purpose of opening a Special Account for them.

Mr. Okupe said that on November 12, Mr. Okojie’s office, in a letter referenced NUC/ES/444/VOL15/280, responded to the request and gave the list of the universities with their various account numbers domiciled with the Central Bank.

“Following this, the Accountant General has communicated with the Executive Secretary requesting for the details of amount payable to each of the listed Universities which is currently being processed by the NUC,” Mr. Okupe said.

While speaking to Channels TV over the weekend, Mr. Fagge had wondered why the government failed to make the money available.

“Why won’t government make available this money so that we know the money is there and the universities commence drawing from this money to address the problem of decay in infrastructure, teaching and research facilities? When that is done, our members will suspend the strike,” he said.

Mr. Okupe did not comment on the other major demands by ASUU that non-victimization of lecturers that partook in the strike be included in the final agreement to be signed by the lecturers’ union and the federal government; and that the agreement be signed on behalf of the federal government by the chief law officer of the country, the Attorney General of the Federation.

He also did not comment on why a renegotiation of the controversial 2009 agreement between both parties be done in 2014, as reportedly agreed at a meeting with President Goodluck Jonathan, was not contained in the ‘resolution’ of the meeting prepared by the government and sent to ASUU.

The presidential aide did not entertain questions after the media briefing.

The Federal Government, through the NUC, had given an ultimatum that all university lecturers resume by December 9 or face sack.

Olusegun Fapohunda
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