JUSUN strike: Buhari tasks Ngige, Gambari to arrest situation
ASUP May Sue FG Over Appointment Of Rectors
President Muhammadu Buhari has tasked his Chief of Staff, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige and other stakeholders to ensure the resolution of the disagreement with the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) so the union would call off its ongoing strike.
This is as indications emerged yesterday that the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) might drag the Federal Government to court over the recent appointment of six rectors of newly created federal polytechnics.
The association argued that the Polytechnic Act of 2019 specifies certain qualifications that lecturers must possess before they could be appointed into the position of rector.
President of ASUP, Anderson Ezeibe, explained that though the government reserves the right to appoint, it must appoint qualified persons as doing otherwise will be injurious to the quality of education in the country.
“We won’t disclose our next move but I can tell you that we will explore all legal avenues to ensure that only qualified persons are appointed rectors. The Federal Government should not be the one breaking the law,” Ezeibe said.
Speaking with State House correspondents after a meeting with President Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, yesterday, Ngige said he briefed the president on the industrial actions by various unions in the country.
He said: “I have to brief (the President) on the labour industrial milieu in the country. You know that we are like in a season of strike.
“We have the strike baton by the resident doctors actively supported by the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA). And we held certain meetings at which we reached some agreements in conciliation. I had to brief him ahead of the efforts we are making in those areas, like we agreed that the hazard allowance should be reviewed.
“As a matter of fact, before they embarked on the strike, my ministry and the Presidential Committee on Salaries had initiated what we can call a pre-emptive arrangement to make for further discussion by all the stakeholders; Federal Ministry of Health, Salary, Income and Wages Commission, the health unions, the NMA that is leading National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD), Association of Dental and Medical consultants, Association of General Duty Doctors, and others, while JOHESU will lead Nurses and Midwife Association, pharmacists, lab technologists, and other people working in the health sector under the big umbrella of Medical and Health Workers Union.
“So, that meeting has kick-started. And we know from our initial meetings and the data we have, we have an idea of what amount of money that will be consumed or utilised to effect this change, which is going to be a permanent change, unlike what we had last year when we did a special COVID-19 allowance, which all of you know the government budgeted N20 billion for. When we started the payment, it gulped a whopping N32 billion. So, we are working now to make the health workers feel that they are appreciated, and that government appreciates their efforts.
“So, I have briefed him on that. We have some fallout from the ASUU discussion on the agreements reached then, a Memorandum of Action so that we can meet up the timeline on certain things promised. For example, the Revitalisation Fund, which ASUU has called my attention to that they have not been done for the university system.
“So, we discussed it and necessary arrangements have to be made now for us to pay that amount to the NEEDS Committee accounts with the Central Bank.”
Ngige said the discussion with the President also touched on the issue of financial autonomy for the judiciary and the legislature, adding: “We reviewed what have been done.”