ASUU Crisis: Govt Signed Agreements Under Duress - CONUA

ASUU Crisis: Govt Signed Agreements Under Duress – CONUA

CONUA national coordinator applauds Federal Government for registering the body, promises to adopt different approach in members’ welfare demands.

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National Coordinator, Congress of Nigerian University Academics (CONUA), Dr Niyi Sunmonu has said part of the reasons responsible for the lingering industrial crisis between the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) is that the government in the past was made to sign some of the agreements under duress and later realised that it was unable to implement them.

CONUA is one of the splinter group from ASUU that were issued certificate of registration by the federal government through the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige on Tuesday.

Dr Sunmonu who made this assertion while appearing on Arise TV’s ‘News Night’ programme on Tuesday night said such has been the reason different governments reneged on agreements they had with ASUU.

He promised to do things differently on resolving the crisis between the public universities and the government especially the recurring industrial action that paralyzes academic activities in the nation’s citadel of learning.

Tracing the history of strike action as an instrument of agitation for welfare, Sunmonu said it has been on for over 40 years coming under different kinds of governments – the military dictators, and democracy and in all “we’ve had one response and that response is put pen to paper on agreement and renege on the agreement later,” he stated.

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The CONUA national coordinator argued that if the government comes to the negotiation table with a relaxed mind, it would sign agreement it would honour.

“We are of the opinion that these agreements, to us, are actually done under duress; where you have the situation in which the other party which is the government that you’re actually discussing with, comes to a meeting with a relaxed mind that once they have an agreement that is workable; when they put pen to paper to sign, they would honour that.”

READ ALSO: ASUU Berates Ngige Over Splinter Union

In a statement earlier on Tuesday, the CONUA national coordinator expressed gratitude to the federal government for granting the approval for registration of the union.

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He said “the registration of the Congress of University Academics (CONUA), as a trade union in the Nigerian university system, is monumentally historic. The hurdles we have faced to get here, since 2018 when we submitted our application for registration, have been seemingly insurmountable. The registration is therefore the validation of the power of the human will. It asserts the value of courage, initiative, focus, tenacity, patience, forbearance and persistent positive thinking.”

The coordinator thanked the Honourable Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, and his team for ensuring that the application followed due process and was done on merit.

“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 would 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.”

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He also thanked the union members for maintaining their posioton all through the period of the struggle for registration and other stakeholders and the media for supporting in various ways to see it come to light.


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