May 6, 2022
The Federal Government on Friday said it would resume talks with the striking Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) next week with a view to ending the prolonged closure of Nigerian public universities.
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige disclosed this in his opening remarks at a meeting between the government side and the striking National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT) in his office in Abuja.
Senator Ngige noted the multiple industrial disputes in the education sector could have been averted if the unions in the sector took advantage of his open door policy like the health unions, which culminated in the peace currently enjoyed in the health sector.
The Minister, who also decried the rivalry among the education unions, made it clear that everybody is important in the university system.
He assured that the government was tackling all the disputes in education sector holistically, knowing fully well that none of the unions could function effectively without the other union.
According to him, “If you are from any union, you don’t need to book appointment to see me. The doctors started using that advantage, JOHESU also did the same. That is why the Health Sector is quiet. But the education unions don’t take advantage of my open door policy.
“We don’t have to cry over spilt milk. Let us look at your issues to see the ones we can handle immediately, the ones we can do in the medium term and the ones we can do in the long term. There are certain ones that are over and above me that are not in my hands to do.
“My job is to prepare an agreement after conciliation on what you have agreed with your employers, the Federal Ministry of Education, put timelines and monitor them, to see whether the results will be there.