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ASUU may suspend strike next week, faults Ngige

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There are indications that the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) may suspend its week-long industrial action next week.

The negotiations which took place in Abuja yesterday had in attendance the Minister of Labour, Senator Chris Ngige, the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, the Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission (NUC), Prof. Adamu Abubakar Rasheed, and the Executive Chairman, National Salaries Incomes and Wages Commission, Richard Onwuka Egbule.

However, the President of ASUU, Biodun Ogunyemi, said the claim by Ngige that the union did not give required notice was not true.

He explained that the union wrote a letter dated July 10 2017 which was acknowledged by the office of the minister.

He said: “The substantial issues are not for the press, but I want to clear this allegation that ASUU kept the relevant ministries, departments and agencies in the dark before proceeding on this action.

“You (Labour Minister) will recall that when we came here two days ago, we drew your attention to a letter dated July 10 and it was why we were here that you confirmed that you were seeing that letter for the first time.

“One other issue I want to clear is about the Babalakin committee. What we had at the end of our discussion last November were areas that are actionable and we left that place with the impression that there will be followup. We appreciate what has been done since we started this action and we are here again to see what we can get.

“In summary, we want to take information from here to our members who are our principals. So, we are open to your suggestions.”

Also, the Minister of Education, yesterday said in Abuja before the Senate Committee on Tertiary Institutions and TETFund that that the strike would be called off within a week

He said part of the reasons for the strike, which included registration of Nigerian Universities Pension Commission, would soon be appropriately sorted out as the executive arm of government had commenced plans to ensure that it honours the agreement between the Federal Government and ASUU.

The education minister added that both ASUU and the Federal Government had agreed to raise a forensic team to audit the N30 billion given to ASUU in 2010 and also agreed on monthly remittances to ASUU while the audit lasts.

However, Chairman of the committee, Jibrin Barau, pledged the support of the National Assembly and commended Adamu for efforts made by his ministry towards ensuring that the strike would end soon.

Ngige said government would not want to be legalistic, insisting that the strike should not have occurred without the mandatory notice as required by the Trade Dispute Act.

The minister said the government would not also want to apportion blames.

Ngige and Ogunyemi, who also spoke with journalists after the meeting said the government had made offers to ASUU, which both parties were expecting the ASUU leadership to present to their members and call of the strike.


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