ASUU Strike: Ngige’s Response To Nigerian Students’ Association  LABOUR

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, has made an explanatory response to the National Association of Nigeria Students (NANS), who according to reports, blamed him for the ongoing warning strike embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).

In a press statement signed and made available to newsmen in Abuja by the Labour Ministry’s Deputy Director, Press and Public Relations, Charles Akpan, the Minister said that the statement accredited to NANS which threatened to mobilise students to disrupt the activities of his Ministry is inflammatory and misguided.

The statement read, “Neither the Ministry nor its officials who, since November 2015 have successfully conciliated 1,786 trade disputes, would wish to join issues with students who certainly do not have enough information.

“First is to note that university lecturers who operate under a union of workers, the Academic Staff Union of Nigerian Universities (ASUU) affiliated to the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) are employees of the universities being overseen on behalf of the Federal Government by the National Universities Commission, a parastatal under the Ministry of Education.



“The Federal Ministry of Education being in charge of everything education, is hence the employers of all workers in the education sector including the academic and non-academic staff of federal universities. The Ministry of Labour for clarity is the conciliator of disputes between workers and their employers in various ministries, in this case ASUU and Ministry of Education.

“It is thus completely false that the Minister of Labour and Employment has not paid attention to monitoring the implementation of the December 2020 ASUU/ FG Memorandum of Action.

“Apart for the Federal Ministry of Education, other ministries, departments and agencies involved in the agreement include the National Universities Commission, Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Budget Office of the Federation, Office of the Accountant General of the Federation and National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA). Though not assigned to it in the MOA, the Minister of Labour and Employment has been monitoring the implementation of the MOA to ensure compliance.

“It should be noted also that until the Minister left for the African Regional Labour Centre Governing Council’s first Post COVID-19 physical meeting in Botswana on February 14, 2022, the Ministry never received any official communication from ASUU on any impending strike as required by Labour Laws. Further enquiries at the Ministry’s Labour Desk in the Federal Ministry of Education in case ASUU chose to drop the notice there also revealed none.”

On the issue of UTAS VS IPPIS, the statement went on to say, “The FGN through the Federal Ministry of Finance in 2016 made it mandatory to pay all her workers in all treasury-funded government MDAs through the Integrated Personnel Payments System (IPPIS).”

The ASUU members picked holes with the system and described it as foreign packaged and not capturing the peculiarities of the university system.

“They opined that they were in the process of developing and providing a system which they named The University Transparency Accounting System. This system was not developed when in 2018 all MDAs not on IPPIS were given a terminal date.  During the 2019 budget presentation also, the President directed that persons not on IPPIS shall not be paid from FG treasury. ASUU went on strike.

“On a courtesy visit to Mr. President early 2019, ASUU raised this issue. The Minister of Labour and Employment supported ASUU that if they have finished developing their system they ought to be encouraged in the spirit of Presidential Executive Order 3 & 5 that encourage home-grown human resources and local content, hence the system needed to be sent in for evaluation starting from the would-be-users, Federal Ministry  of Education/NUC and Federal Ministry of Finance/Accountant General of the Federation.

“Again not our job but the Honourable Minister of Labour facilitated, coordinated and personally attended these demonstrations with our officials all in a bid to make sure that things worked out and thereafter sought the Federal Ministry of Communication and Digital Economy/ NITDA’s cooperation, analysis and testing of the UTAS.

”The system was to handshake with IPPIS as a first step. ASUU again went on strike in February 2020 saying their members should not be enrolled on IPPIS at all even when UTAS was not ready but that they should continue receiving their salaries and some allowances via the obnoxious cash system or the abolished recurrent GIFMIS system through which the Federal Government incurred  a loss of about N750 billion annually paid to ghost workers and other fraudulent financial sharp practice

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