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ASUU reacts to registration of factional academic groups 

ASUU knocks Minister of Labour as confrontations continue, says his plans will not work



Precious Yusuf

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), reacted to the Federal Government’s decision to register rival groups, the Congress of University Academics(CONUA), and the National Association of Medical and Dental Academics(NAMDA) as trade unions.

The union on Tuesday, October 4th,blamed the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, as he presented certificates of registration to CONUA and NAMDA in Abuja.

Ngige stated that the two new unions would exist alongside ASUU even now that there was an ongoing strike of all Federal Universities in the country. 

He said both unions also had the privilege and right to exist in the universities. 

“CONUA applied for registration in 2018 and cited irreconcilable differences as it does not believe in recurring strikes as the solution to every welfare agitation. It also accused the ASUU executive of non-rendition of accounts of incomes and expenditure for years,” Ngige stated this as part of the reasons why the ministry decided to make them stand alone associations. 

He also pointed out that the ministry had gone through the right path by also setting up a committee to look into the application of the bodies. 

“The Ministry of Labour and Employment set up a committee to look into the merit of their application. The committee saw merit in the application and recommended approval for the registration of the association by the Registrar of Trade Unions in 2020. But for the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic and the recurring ASUU Strike, this would have been done. NAMDA, like their colleagues in CONUA, had applied for registration as medical teachers in the university system under various groups,” he said. 

According to an interview with The PUNCH,Emmanuel Osodeke,ASUU President, said the development was a plan by the Minister of Labour.

 “For us, it (the registration) is inconsequential, let them go ahead and open the universities. Ngige is just like a child. That is our response. We have nothing to say to them,” Osodeke added.

Meanwhile both unions said they will try to be different from ASUU as they did not believe that strike was the solution to every disagreement with the federal government. 

In a statement released by CONUA, the union saw the registration as monumentally historic and pledged to offer the best to their students. 

“We regard the registration of CONUA as a sacred trust, and pledge to reciprocate by devoting ourselves unceasingly to the advancement of university education in this country.

We will make the details of our programmes available to the public in due course. For now, we are giving the assurance that we would work to ensure that the nation is not traumatised again by academic union dislocations in the country’s public universities,” the statement read. 

The President of NAMDA, Nosa Orhue, urged ASUU to call off its ongoing strike. He said that the President, Muhammadu Buhari , had pledged to resolve all outstanding issues and hence normal school activities should resume. 

“With this registration, a platform has been created for medical trainers and teachers to search the process of gradual reversal to the known normal medical training environment that was punctured in early 2000,” he said. 

He went on to add the medical and dentistry profession was a delicate one that should not be interrupted frequently. He said this would affect the students and they might lose a lot of time which may be hard to regain. 

“Medicine and Dentistry are very sensitive and require uninterrupted house training. It requires time and sufficient exposure which when lost is difficult to recover without an extension of training duration. It comes at a cost to students, parents and the nation at large.”

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