The Federal Government has vowed to start the process of registering a rival union.as Academic Staff Union of Universities continue it’s strike action
The remark was made by the Ministerof Labour and Employmenti n Abuja when the leadership of Congress of University Academics (CONUA), led by its National Coordinator, Dr Niyi Sunmonu, visited him.
Ngige lamented that the protracted strike action, saying that it is destroying the educational development of the country.
“We are receiving you in audience formally today in this ministry. We have the right to receive associations of persons that are workers, whether we have registered them or not, just as you have the right to apply for registration which is the lawful thing to do.
“We have the right to receive and hold meetings with you. The journey to have you registered has just started.
“You have done the right thing by applying and this ministry has also done the right thing by processing your registration.
“The review of your application for registration is ongoing. I have put up a committee to look into that review. I will ask the committee to wind up its work.
“We are giving them four weeks from today to turn in their report to the ministry.
“Part of our job here is to register unions; it is also part of our job to make sure that unions that are not functional are helped,” Ngige said.
He, however, commended the university lecturers for initiating the process to register the union.
Sunmonu said that CONUA was established due to sharp differences between its members and ASUU.
“CONUA members are not members of ASUU and we are not ready to be part of ASUU due to irreconcilable differences and modes of operation.
“ASUU no longer represent our interest and aspirations. CONUA fits to be described as a group of people who are independent academics and who have decided to come together to form a union committed to the advancement of education in Nigeria.”
Sunmonu condemned the prolonged strike in the university system, and urged unions to choose to engage the government constructively rather than down tools every time, considering the negative effect of that on the educational system.
He gave the assurance that if CONUA is finally registered, it would always constructively engage the government on any issue that arises.
“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.
“We want to ensure a seamless and uninterrupted academic calendar in the university system.
“This strike has done more damage than good. As academics and researchers, we are supposed to have evaluated the effect of the strike on our institutions, especially on our collective psychic.
“From the preliminary report that we have, the strike has done more harm than good to our universities. Nigerian Universities should rank comfortably with any other university in any part of the world