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FG Will Honour Agreements With ASUU, Buhari Tells CAN, Sultan

The Federal Government will honour promises made to the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to prevent disruptive strikes, encourage uninterrupted academic programmes and improve funding of educational institutions.

This is according to President Muhammadu Buhari who gave the assurance on Tuesday at the presidential villa, Abuja while receiving members of the Nigeria Inter-Religious Council (NIREC) led by the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, and the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Rev’d Dr Samson Olasupo Ayokunle.

The President commended the leadership of NIREC for intervening in the year-long strike by ASUU and holding consultations with the parties, saying no society which wishes itself well neglects its educational system and all its component parts.

This is even as he urged the council to tell ASUU that his administration regards them and the service they provide to the nation very highly.

“’However, they should be cognizant of the fiscal pressures that we are currently facing. Nevertheless, we remain committed to honoring our promises,” Buhari was quoted as saying in a statement issued by his spokesman, Femi Adesina.

“For their part, I would like to encourage ASUU to continue to work with us towards finding resolutions to the challenges that confront us.

“My administration is committed to this engagement and dialogue, and I urge them to stay the course towards a joint resolution in the best interest of our children and nation.”

Buhari also responded to the issued raised by NIREC on finding sustainable solutions to the perennial and disruptive strikes that threaten the sanctity and integrity of the nation’s university system.

According to him, he had directed his Chief of Staff, the Honourable Ministers of Labour and Employment and Education to make resolving this issue a priority.

The President said he had received briefing from the Minister of Labour, detailing where we are today given the various interested parties, and he apprised the meeting as follows:

He added, “’To show our commitment, several payments have been made over the last 6 months, addressing several of the issues you raised – details of which the Minister of Labour and Employment can make available to you.

“’Funding has also been provided for infrastructure development across several public universities and several of them have begun drawing down on this facility to improve their level of infrastructure.

“Finally, and perhaps the most contentious of issues regarding the decision to use either the Integrated Payroll and Personal Information System (IPPIS) or the University Transparency Accountability Solutions (UTAS).

“As you may be aware, IPPIS was introduced as a means of blocking leakages. Through IPPIS, the Federal Government was able to save over N100 billion annually from the core civil service alone. In view of the resistance from ASUU we devised UTAS which is now on the table.”

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