Former president of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, Attahiru Jega, has accused Labour Minister, Chris Ngige, of worsening negotiations between the striking lecturers and the federal government.
Jega who is also a former chairman of INEC, made the allegation during an interview on Arise Television.
He said that Ngige is responsible for how the seven-month-old strike has lingered, having turned the situation into a personal affair.
“The minister of labor is not helping matters, he has turned this into a personal quarrel between him and the Minister of Education on the one hand and between himself and the Academic staff union on the other” , he said.
The professor of political science said the minister has been working at cross purposes with ASUU and the education ministry to solve the knotty issue but instead making collective negotiation complicated.
Jega pointed out Ngige’s action to register rival bodies – Congress of University Academics and National Association of Medical and Dental Academics, as some of the ways Ngige is frustrating an amicable solution to the logjam in the university system.
“And while many people are trying to find a way of addressing this situation so that students can go back to school and ASUU can go back to work, he (Ngige) is busy creating challenges, he now took the matter to the Industrial Court, ASUU has appealed. Now today he registers two unions trying to proscribe the Academic Staff Union of Universities. If this is allowed, I think this is a recipe for disaster and it may create more problems than it can solve on this matter of strikes in universities”.
Ngige had earlier stormed out of a truce meeting called by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila. The minister acted unruly as he sparred with ASUU president, Emmanuel Osodeke.
Story: Ralia Adama