As the disagreement between the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and The Federal Government continued to linger, Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige has directed a ministerial committee to review an earlier application of Congress of University Academics (CONUA) and report back within four weeks,
CONUA is a group of university lecturers that earlier broke away from ASUU, and had a pending registration application with the Federal Government.
The Minister vowed to reactivate the application and ensure the group is registered as a trade union in the academic sector.
Recall that earlier disagreement within the ranks of ASUU on continuous strike by ASUU at least provocation led to the formation of CONUA, which the group said had done the university system more harm than good.
The Group’s National Coordinator, Niyi Sunmonu said that as academics and researchers, lecturers were supposed to have evaluated the effect of strikes on Nigeria’s institutions and especially on “our collective psyche.”
“Nigerian Universities should rank comfortably with any other university in any part of the world.
“So we want to ensure a seamless and uninterrupted academic calendar in the university system.” He appealed to the minister to reconsider CONUA’s request to be registered as a trade union.
He said CONUA members have for long ceased to be part of ASUU and were not willing to be part of it, adding that ASUU no longer represents the interests of what CONUA stands and represents.
He said, “Rather, CONUA members are independent academics who decided to come together and form a union for its members and the progress of education in Nigeria.
“We should constructively engage the government because the government cannot see what we see and we will not see what the government sees but when we have our mind made up in a constructive manner we will come to a reasonable agreement to further progress our universities and for the advancement of the nation.”
Recall that ASUU has been on strike since March, 23, 2020 and had made nine demands from the government which included N220 billion revitalisation fund, Earned Academic Allowances, Constitution of Visitation Panels in the universities among others.
Meanwhile, Senator Ngige, alongside government representatives will be meeting with ASUU at the ministers office on Friday for more negotiations.