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ASUU walks out on government over resolution on strike

By Collins Olayinka (Abuja) and Isa Abdulsalami Ahovi (Jos)
18 December 2018   |   4:19 am
The possible early resolution of the lingering strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has been thrown into jeopardy...

Chris Ngige, Minister of Labour and Employment.

• UNIJOS SSANU set for industrial action
The possible early resolution of the lingering strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has been thrown into jeopardy as the union walked out on the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige.

The walkout happened at 6.41 p.m., two hours after the conciliatory meeting, which was slated to begin at 4.00 p.m., but eventually took off at 5.00 p.m. yesterday at the Federal Secretariat in Abuja.

The President of ASUU, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, led the walkout.

Ngige, speaking at the commencement of the meeting, expressed shock that the issue of shortfall in salaries of university lecturers was still lingering, but expressed hope that the ongoing strike by the union would soon be resolved.

He said both parties would consider reports on all the outstanding issues with a view to reaching an understanding on the way forward.

The minister said that he was surprised that the payment had lingered despite agreement reached over the matter since 2017.

He said the meeting expects to get a report from the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation, adding that the Accountant-General’s Office had given assurance that it would report back on the conclusion of staff verification exercise it carried out.

Ngige said that at the meeting, most of the outstanding issues would be resolved and that both government and ASUU would be able to agree on the way forward.

In another development, the University of Jos Chapter of Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) has threatened to join the nationwide strike called by its national body if the Federal Government fails to respect the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) it signed with the union in 2009.

The union also demanded the immediate release of N8 billion owed them by the Federal Government, being the balance of their earned allowances and the reinstatement of all disengaged staff school workers in line with the order of the National Industrial Court (NIC) of Nigeria.

UNIJOS Chairperson of SSANU, Esther Ezeama, made their position known while addressing journalists in Jos yesterday.

Ezeama said: “We signed an agreement with the Federal Government in 2009, and up till now, the government is yet to honour that agreement.”