The Federal Ministry of Education’s managers seem unconcerned about the strike. There are some things that are beyond my control. I do not hold the position of Minister of Education.
The federal government has reaffirmed its commitment to renegotiating the terms of employment for all public university employees across the country.
On Monday in Abuja, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, received members of the government side of the re-negotiation committee for the 2009 Federal Government/University Based Unions Agreement, led by its Chairman, Nimi Briggs.
Mr Ngige made the declaration in a statement signed by Patience Onuobia, the ministry’s Acting Head of Press and Public Relations.
Theminister was speaking in the midst of the Academic Staff Union of Universities’ strike, which is still ongoing (ASUU).
He said that as conciliator, he has been working hard to ensure that everything in the 2020 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) reached by the government and the union is implemented, including the renegotiated positions.
He remembered that the renegotiation process began in 2017 with the formation of a committee led by Wale Babalakin, who was later replaced by Munzali Jibril.
According to the minister, in the December 2020 agreement, he gave the government a deadline to return to the university unions, which are their employees, to sort things out.
“I began to exert pressure to ensure that things were completed. The Munzali committee has produced a suggestion. Munzali and ASUU both declined to sign. “Everyone should go back to his principal,” we remarked at our previous meeting in February, before ASUU went on strike. I inquired numerous times about what Education had done with the material. We then learned about the points of contention. That is perfectly OK. It’s only a matter of time before it happens. When I told ASUU that they needed to form a committee, they told me that the Munzali committee had expired.
“I have to use the labor instruments at my disposal as a conciliator.” The Federal Ministry of Education’s managers seem unconcerned about the strike. There are some things that are beyond my control. “I am not an education minister.” I can’t go to the Minister of Education and tell him how to operate his department. But I advised ASUU that if you want this to move forward, you should bombard them at the Federal Ministry of Education. “There are a variety of options,” he stated.
According to him, there is something called picketing in the labor act. You can picket, but a strike is the last resort.
“Picketing” involves remaining in the corridor while clapping or singing. It is permissible for employees to do so. However, whenever there is a disagreement, there is a strike.”
“It’s the kids, and some of us parents, who send our kids to public schools.” My children, including those on my foundation’s scholarship and sponsorship programs, are enrolled in public universities.
“So, I’m a parent now.” I’m aware of it. He stated, “I didn’t send my children to Igbinedion, Afe Babalola, or Cambridge.”
He claims that the Nigerian university system gave birth to him and that he is proud of it.
“Why won’t I support if ASUU and their unions now want to renegotiate their working conditions, which was the fundamental point of the previous Munzali committee’s proposal?”
Mr Briggs, who is also the Pro Chancellor of Alex Ekwueme Federal University in Ndifu Alike, Ebonyi State, also spoke, saying the renegotiation committee was consulting all stakeholders in order to find a long-term solution to the issues at hand.
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