An anchor and owner of the popular Human Rights Radio in Abuja, Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Ahmed Isah, has announced that he is crowdfunding for the striking Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to return to class.
ASUU and other university workers’ unions have been on strike for almost four months. The unions’ demands, among other things, include better funding for the nation’s public tertiary institutions and improved welfare for their members.
While the government released 34 billion naira for the payment of minimum wage consequential adjustments from 2019, ASUU has maintained that until its core demands are met, it will not suspend the strike.
In a live broadcast on Thursday, Mr Isah, who is the anchor of the Brekete Family programme on the radio station, said he is willing to volunteer to mediate between ASUU and the government.
He also promised to donate N10 million naira to the cause and called on Nigerians to donate into a designated bank account posted on the Brekete Family social media pages and his personal twitter handle.
Mr Isah also announced the donation of N1 million naira by Segun Ogunyanwo, a deputy registrar at the Institute of Chartered Mediators and Conciliators (ICMC).
“Let us challenge ourselves as Nigerians. This is an opportunity for us to test ourselves to know how united we are. Come 2023, this ASUU intervention will give me a sign that, as masses, we are ready to turn things around,” he said on Thursday.
“Your one naira, N1,000 naira, N5000, N10,000 is not too small. No matter how poor you think you are, make sure you contribute something, even if it is one naira.”
ASUU President, Emmanuel Osodeke, and Ben Goong, the director of press at the federal ministry of education, couldn’t be reached for comments. Also, text messages sent to them had not been responded to as of the time of filing this report.
It is, however, unclear if the payment will be enough for the union to call off the ongoing strike as ASUU leadership has previously told PREMIUM TIMES that the strike will only be suspended when two of its demands are met.
One of the two major demands by ASUU is the deployment of the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) to replace the Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System (IPPIS) as a payment platform.
The other demand is the implementation of the renegotiated 2009 Agreement concluded in May 2021 by the defunct Munzali Jibril-led committee.
But the government has constituted another committee led by Nimi Briggs, an emeritus professor, to renegotiate the agreement in three months ending in June.
On the deployment of UTAS, ASUU and the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) have been at loggerheads over the failure to approve UTAS for use. NITDA is the government agency tasked with carrying out tests on UTAS and making recommendations.