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Labour Minister plays down on ASUU Strike, says “Union on Leave”.

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The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, said the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, “are just on leave.”

Ngige on Wednesday while reacting to a one-month warning strike embarked upon by the academic union, said that the strike is not recognised because the union failed to notify his ministry before embarking on strike.

Ngige also noted that the union failed in its agreement with the National Inter-religious Council headed by the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Abubakar Sa’ad, and the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Rev Samson Ayokunle.

“I am sure you know NIREC which is headed by the sultan and the CAN president. I am sure you also remember that the President mandated his Chief of Staff, the ministry of labour and the ministry of education to find a way to make sure that we resolve the issues with ASUU,” Ngige told Punch.

“Now, NIREC met with ASUU twice and they discussed some of these issues. The leadership of ASUU said they would go back and meet with their NEC. We were waiting for them to come back and then we heard they were going on strike.

“ASUU failed to get back to us and proceeded on strike without sending notifications. They just gave themselves a leave. If you want to go on strike, you should at least inform us officially by giving us notification but they refused to.

“You cannot just go on strike like that, it is illegal. So, they are just on leave. We will work with them and they will call off the strike.”

ASUU had on February 14 announced the commencement of a one-month strike after its National Executive Council meeting.

The union had blamed the federal government for constantly failing to honour some of the lingering demands such as payment of revitalization funds for universities, payment of earned allowances for university lecturers, deployment of the UTAS payment system for University lecturers.

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