Ngige talks without thinking, strike may linger

Professor Emmanuel Osodeke, the president of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, has taken a jab at Minister of Labour and Productivity, Chris Ngige.

Osodoke was reacting to the minister’s statement that the lecturers’ body should liaise with the government-appointed committee, led by Benimi Briggs.

Ngige, while appearing on a television programme, said ASUU “should go and meet the Benimi Briggs Committee and look at what the committee is doing and make further inputs so that the work can be accelerated.”

The minister also accused ASUU leadership of browbeating some government officials. ASUU did not take lightly to the minister’s comment, but instead censured him for being unguarded.

However, in an interview with our correspondent on Sunday, the President of ASUU, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, said it was shameful for Ngige to tell the union to go and liaise with another party other than the government.

“Ngige just talks without thinking”, Osodeke said, before asking rhetorically, “Are we on strike with a particular person?”

He added that ASUU might extend its ongoing strike due to government’s unseriousness.

“The rollover ends in two weeks, and there is no information, nothing new from the FG.

They didn’t make any effort to get in touch with us or seek ways of ending the strike.

“Our members will decide after two weeks what step to take.

We are not begging them for discussion; they should invite us for any meeting. That’s the way it should be. We are not on strike with Ngige or Briggs but against the government, so why is he saying we should go and meet one committee or one person? We are on strike against a system.”

ASUU is demanding, among other things, funds for revitalisation  of universities; renegotiation of the 2009 FGN/ASUU agreement; release of earned allowances for university lecturers, and an approval of its preferred salary payment system, known as UTAS.

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