Obinna Odogwu, Awka
Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), yesterday, accused the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige and his counterpart in the education ministry (state), Mr Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, of deceiving Nigerians with false information on the labour dispute between it and the federal government.
ASUU coordinator in Owerri Zone, Uzo Onyebinama, at a press conference in Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Anambra State, said that the duo of Ngige and Nwajiuba had on many occasions told the media that agreement had been reached on virtually all the issues that necessitated the strike.
Onyebinama said: “Instead of apologising to Nigerians and hiding their heads in shame on the serial failures of governments particularly the present government which came on the mantra of change, the duo of Ministers Chris Ngige and Emeka Nwajiuba have been feeding Nigerians with lies and half truth.
“Ministers Ngige and Nwajiuba have on many occasions on various media organizations said that agreement had been reached on virtually all the issues that necessitated the seven months old strike.
“They should please tell Nigerians, who their masters are, those agreements that have been reached and implemented. As far as our Union is concerned, no agreement has been reached on any of the demands.
“So instead of constantly running to the press, Ngige and Nwajiuba should sit down and painstakingly do the work that they are paid to do. It is on record that the date given by the Minister Ngige to reach our Union with government improved position has elapsed without any communication.
“The proposed new timelines for implementation of some proposals such as appointment of a new team for renegotiation of the 2009 FGN-ASUU Agreement, gazetting of visitation panels among others have elapsed without any implementation. This shows the insincerity on the part of government.”
ASUU said that every effort it made to ensure that the strike did not take place at the beginning did not materialise as several efforts made to ensure that government honoured their agreement failed.
“Please recall that our union embarked on an avoidable total, comprehensive and indefinite strike action due to failure of government to honour the 7th February, 2019 Memorandum of Action (MOA).
“We said avoidable because several efforts were made by our union to get government to honour the MOA including a two (2) week warning strike.
“Also recall that there was an earlier MOA in 2017 over these same issues which this present government failed to implement. It is important to note that Minister Chris Ngige mid-wifed these 2017 and 2019 agreements as the Minister of Labour and Employment.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the issues in contention remain revitalization fund for public universities, arrears of Earned Academic Allowances (EAA), visitation panel to universities, proliferation of state universities and issues of governance in them, and conclusion of the renegotiation of the 2009 FGN-ASUU Agreement.
“The later issue of Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) was a new introduction and a diversion as no university in the world runs such a system.”