Amid the persistent and never-seem-to-be-ending strike that the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) had enforced since March, the Federal Government has commenced the process of registering a rival union.
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, announced this sequel to the visit he received from the leadership of the Congress of University Academics (CONUA) on November 19, 2020. As opposed to ASUU, CONUA’s leadership is drawn from university lecturers.
The Minister deeply regretted the long strike of the ASUU, stating that it had negatively affected the educational development of the country (Tell us something we don’t know…)
In his words,
“We are receiving you in audience formally 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 a 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.”
On his part, the National Coordinator of CONUA, Dr. Niyi Sunmonu, pointed out that his union was enjoying large followership, with many universities registering more members by the day since it came on board in February 2018.
Sunmonu said, “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“ASUU no longer represents our interests and aspirations.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.”
Anyone they are doing, as long as we return to school. Until then, “…relax, travel, and have fun.”
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