The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has condemned the Nigerian 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 Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige who presented certificates of registration to the two trade unions in Abuja on Tuesday, said they are entitled to all rights and privileges existing in the university and would exist side-by-side with ASUU.
This is coming amidst the lingering strike by ASUU which had led to a closure of public universities across the country for more than seven months now.
Ngige in an attempt to justify the action of the government said the two bodies had previously applied to be separate, claiming to be having irreconcilable differences with ASUU, especially on the issue of adopting strike as a way of agitating for their welfare.
“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.
“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,” Ngige stated.
Reacting to that, ASUU national president, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, accused Ngige of plotting the registration of the two bodies.
He, however, stated that the registration is inconsequential to their struggle, adding that members of ASUU are not threatened by the newly registered bodies. Osodeke reiterated that the struggle is for a better education system in Nigeria that will benefit everybody not only ASUU members.
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