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ASUU strike: I am tired, it is beyond me – Ngige

Chris Ngige

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, has admitted he is tired of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) always going on strike every time they disagree with the Federal Government.

Ngige said this in a statement released on Monday in Abuja.

It was signed by the Head of Press and Public Relations, Patience Onuobia, after a meeting with members of the government’s team on the 2009 Federal Government/University-based Unions’ Agreement Renegotiation Committee, led by its Chairman, Prof. Nimi Briggs.

The statement reads: “I started pushing to see that things were done. What the Munzali Committee came up with is a proposal. Both Munzali and ASUU did not sign. At our last meeting in February, before ASUU proceeded on strike, we said everyone should go back to his principal.

“I asked the Education Minister several times what they had done with the document. We later got information on areas of disagreement. There is nothing wrong with that. It is bound to happen. I told ASUU to put up a committee; they said the Munzali Committee had expired.

“As a conciliator, I have to make use of the labour instruments at my disposal. The bosses in the Federal Ministry of Education do not feel the strike. There are things that are above me.

“I am not the Minister of Education. I cannot go to the Education Minister and dictate to him how to run his place. But I told ASUU that they should be bombarding the Federal Ministry of Education for this to be moved forward.

“There are many ways to do so. If you go to the Labour Act, there is something called picketing. You can picket. A strike is an ultimate thing. Picketing means that you can stay in the corridor, clapping or singing. Workers are permitted to do so. But I am tired that every time there is a disagreement, it is a strike.

“And the bosses in the Federal Ministry of Education don’t feel the strike. It is the children and some of us, as parents that have our children in public schools…”

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