Abuja-based human rights radio has announced the suspension of an initiative to raise funds for striking university teachers after the teachers’ union rejected the offer.
The University Academic Staff Union (ASUU) on Saturday rejected an offer by popular Brekete radio presenter Ahmed Isah to raise money for the union through crowdfunding to enable teachers to return to work after a long strike.
ASUU President Emmanuel Osodeke, who was on the radio Saturday, said the union would distance itself from the campaign and that its name should be removed.
PREMIUM TIMES had reported Mr. Isah’s announcement that he would mediate between the striking speakers and the Nigerian government.
The ASUU Objection
ASUU President Mr. Osodeke, a professor, while speaking as a guest at the station on Saturday, said the union was distancing itself from fundraising and that the name of the ‘ASUU should be removed from the account name.
He said; “Please I want to appeal that we are not associated with the money we see on the floor here. Note that ASUU is not a part of it.
“We saw that the account opened also bears the name of ASUU. If ASUU’s name is there, ASUU kindly asks you to delete it.
Mr Osodeke was referring to a sum of N50 million displayed in the studio by Mr Isah.
The 50 million naira, he said, was received from Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State as part of the fundraiser.
“We will come, we will talk about our problems. But certainly ASUU is not part of what we see here. Likewise, we would also like to reiterate that we love what you are doing. Everyone has the right to start a fund for anything, including the university,” the ASUU President added.
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Mr Osodeke, however, explained that his comments were intended to set the record straight so the public would not think his union took money from the radio station.
He said that all the money requested from the government is not for his union, but for all public universities.
He added that ASUU as a union does not receive any money from the government and all funds are sent directly to the universities concerned.
“The Brekete family can decide to say we are doing an XYZ project at each of the universities, there is nothing wrong with that. You can put your name, your photo,” he said.
Isah suspends crowdfunding
Reacting to ASUU’s stance, Mr. Isah immediately ordered the Brekete ASUU intervention bank account suspended and donated to the accounts.
Mr. Isah, known as the Ordinary President, had announced on June 2 the establishment of two accounts bearing the name of Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB) and Jaiz Bank to fund ASUU.
He said more than 12 million naira had been received in the two accounts. The live update of the funds displayed on the site of the station.
Mr Isah said he had asked banks to integrate the live update of funds as they are received online.
Mr Isah also announced and displayed 50 million naira in cash donated by Governor Emmanuel.
Meanwhile, another group of people, Arochukwu Youth Association (AYA) in Abuja, also donated 100,000 Naira during the live program.
But callers to the program have called on Mr. Isah not to cut off fundraising.
Responding to the call, he said, “I’ll think about it. But it’s still on hold for now,” he finally said.
In addition to ASUU, other campus-based unions including the Association of Senior Staff of Nigerian Universities (SSANU), Union of Non-Academic Staff of Educational Institutions and Associates (NASU) and the National Association of university technologists (NAAT), are also on strike, demanding better welfare for their members and respect for the agreement they had with the government.
ASUU demands the deployment of University Transparency and Accountability Solutions (UTAS) as a payment platform for its members and the conclusion and implementation of the renegotiated 2009 agreement which encompasses the benefits of its members.
Other union demands include the University Revitalization Fund and the publication of white papers on the University Visitation Panel last year.
The government had enrolled ASUU members on the Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System (IPPIS), a single payment platform for all federal government employees.
The ASUU, however, called the IPPIS fraudulent.
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