Ngige criticizes the Ministry of Education and suggests an alternative to the strike

The federal government reaffirmed its commitment to renegotiate the terms of service for all public university workers across the country.

Labor and Employment Minister Chris Ngige said this when he received members of the government side of the renegotiation committee of the 2009 federal government-university union agreement in Abuja on Monday in Abuja led by his President, Nimi Briggs.

Mr. Ngige said so in a statement signed by Patience Onuobia, acting head of press and public relations at the ministry.

The Minister was speaking in the context of the ongoing strike launched by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).

He said that as conciliator he pushed for everything contained in the 2020 memorandum of understanding signed by the government and the union to be done, including the implementation of the renegotiated positions.

He recalled that the renegotiation started in 2017 when the federal government inaugurated a committee headed by Wale Babalakin who was later replaced by Munzali Jibril, but COVID-19 hit in 2020.

The minister said that in the December 2020 agreement, he gave the government a timeline to return to the university unions who are their employees to settle everything.

“I started pushing to see that things were done. What the Munzali committee has proposed is a proposal. Munzali and ASUU have not signed. At our last meeting in February before ASUU went on strike, we said everyone should go back to their manager.

“I asked Education several times what they did with the document. We then obtained information on areas of disagreement. There is nothing wrong with that. It must happen. I told ASUU to set up a committee, they said the Munzali committee had expired.

“As a conciliator, I have to use the working tools at my disposal. The bosses of the Federal Ministry of Education do not feel the strike. There are things that are beyond me. I am not Minister of Education.

“I can’t go to the Minister of Education and tell him how to manage his place. But I told ASUU that you should bomb them at the Federal Department of Education to get this going. There are many ways to do it,” he said.

According to him, if you go to labor law, there is something called picketing. You can picket, strike is an ultimate thing.

“Picketing means you can stand in the hallway, cheer or sing. Workers are allowed to do so. But every time there’s a disagreement, it’s a strike.

“It is the children and some of us parents who have our children in public schools. I have my children in public universities, including those who benefit from the scholarship and sponsorship of my foundation.

“So I’m a parent. I feel it. I did not send my children to Igbinedion or Afe Babalola or Cambridge,” he said.

He said the Nigerian university system produced him and he remains proud of it.

“Why won’t I support if ASUU and their unions now want a renegotiation of their terms of service, which is the main thrust of the previous Munzali committee’s proposal.”

Also speaking, Mr Briggs, who is also Chancellor of Alex Ekwueme Federal University, Ndifu Alike, Ebonyi State, said the renegotiation committee was consulting with all stakeholders with a view to finding a lasting solution to the issues. in dispute.

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