The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), on Tuesday, knocked the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, over the Federal Government’s decision to register rival groups, the Congress of University Academics(CONUA) and the National Association of Medical and Dental Academics as trade unions.
Recall that Ngige presented certificates of registration to CONUA and NAMDA in Abuja yesterday.
The minister said the two trade unions would exist side-by-side with ASUU.
CONUA is led by its National Coordinator, ‘Niyi Sunmonu, a lecturer at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife.
The presentation of the certificate came amidst the lingering strike by ASUU which had led to a closure of federal and state universities in the country.
Ngige said the two unions were entitled to all rights and privileges existing in the university.
He said, “CONUA applied for registration in 2018 and cited irreconcilable differences as it does not believe in recurring strikes as the solution to every welfare agitation.
“It also accused the ASUU executive of non-rendition of accounts of incomes and expenditure for years.
“The Ministry of Labour and Employment set up a committee to look into the merit of their application. The committee saw merit in the application and recommended approval for the registration of the association by the Registrar of Trade Unions in 2020. But for the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic and the recurring ASUU Strike, this would have been done.
“NAMDA, like their colleagues in CONUA, had applied for registration as medical teachers in the university system under various groups.”
ASUU President, Emmanuel Osodeke, in an interview with Punch, described the development as a “plan by Minister of Labour. destroy ASUU”.
“For us, the registration is inconsequential, let them go ahead and open the universities. Ngige is just like a child. That is our response. We have nothing to say to them,” Osodeke added.
The PUNCH reports that the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo, in an earlier interview with Nigerian journalists had noted that the Federal Government delayed in registering CONUA so as not to be seen as causing division among the university lecturers.