The leadership of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has said it will not shift ground until its demands are met by the Federal Government.
ASUU President, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, said only the Federal Government can end the one-month strike the union declared on February 14, 2022.
But Labour and Employment Minister Chris Ngige said the Federal Government would do “everything possible” to resolve the issues the union raised by ASUU.
He assured the nation that the strike would soon be called off.
At the resumed discussion with the leadership of ASUU yesterday, Ngige said he was “taken aback by the renewed strike”.
The minister said the government was surprised that ASUU negated the assurances it gave through the Nigerian Inter-Religious Council (NIREC), led by the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar, and the Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Rev. Supo Ayokunle.
The minister, who said he was in Botswana for the meeting of the African Regional Labour Administrative Centre (ARLAC) when ASUU declared its action, added that he thought the university teachers and their employer, the Ministry of Education, would have resolved the areas of disputes within days.
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He also said: “From this negotiation we are having today, ASUU will appreciate that the government means no harm. This is because even if there are still lapses in implementation of the agreement, they are not such that will lead to industrial action. To that extent, we have to do everything possible to resolve this.
“But I must tell you that on the government side, they were taken by surprise in that before then, NIREC met with you (ASUU) and reported to the President. Having met with you (ASUU) and having given the details of their meeting with you, we sincerely hoped we won’t again take this route of an industrial action.
“So, the government side is taken by surprise – the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Finance and all – are taken aback.”
Osodeke blamed the Federal Government for the current strike, alleging that apart from not implementing the 2020 Memorandum of Agreement (MoA), the government also failed to convene the regular implementation monitoring meeting, as agreed by both sides.
The ASUU leader insisted that calling off the strike would depend on the Federal Government, saying the union’s members were determined not to shift ground until their demands were met.
The meeting went into a closed-door session at 6:30 p.m yesterday.