The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) Usman Danfodio University Sokoto (UDUS) chapter has debunked the claim made by Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige that the Union chapter has suspended the strike and commenced academic activities in the school.
The union branch in UDUS accused the Labour Minister of lying about the situation of the negotiation between ASUU and the Nigerian government.
In an interview with Arise Tv on Thursday, July 14, Ngige stated that lecturers in Health Sciences at Usmanu Danfodiyo University have suspended the strike and begun work. The labour minister also claimed that the school has graduated a set of medical students and has written to the federal government indicating that they were at work and he (Ngige) after getting proof of that, has advised the Finance Minister on processing their payments which have commenced.
In a press statement signed by Chairperson ASUU-UDUS branch, Almustapha, M. N.; and Sadiku S. A., Secretary, the union countered the claim, stating that all members of ASUU in the institution have been on strike.
They said Ngige deliberately misinformed Nigerians about the actual state of the ASUU-FGN reconciliation efforts and wondered why he should resort to such a strategy given his level as a public servant and a medical doctor by profession who should maintain upright and straightforward character.
Part of the statement released on Sunday reads, “The attention of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto (ASUU UDUS) Branch has been drawn to an interview granted to Arise TV by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige on the 14th of July, 2022. In the said interview, he characteristically (as always) misinformed and disinformed Nigerians about the actual state of the ASUU-FGN reconciliation efforts.
“This is to categorically and unequivocally inform the public and those concerned that these are all in the imagination of the Minister. This
intentional misinformation and treachery, against the sensibility of Nigerians, is already known to many as the characteristics of Dr. Ngige. His manner of narrative during the interview depicts his inhumane nature and wanton disregard for the truth, honesty and integrity, a character unbefitting of a Federal Minister.”
In the interview, Ngige said the vice chancellor of UDUS had written a letter to the federal government informing that the medical lecturers are not on strike, but the union said that is not true and challenged the minister to provide evidence of his claims.
According to the union, the manner in which the Labour Minister has been handling the issue between the government and ASUU was responsible for why the strike has lingered.
Describing Ngige as the worst Minister of Labour ever in the history of Nigerian labour relations, ASUU-UDUS branch accused him of making several unsuccessful attempts to divide the union by sponsoring selected academics to form a parallel union.
“The entire members of ASUU-UDUS Branch, including the College of Health Sciences, are fully on a total and comprehensive strike which commenced on the 14th of February, 2022 and has never had the intention of calling it off until the Federal Government wakes up to its responsibilities.
“Contrary to the claims of Dr. Ngige, there is no letter written by the Vice Chancellor of Usmanu Danfodiyo University Sokoto or any of his representatives or any Union officials, depicting that the Medical Lecturers are not on strike to any agency of government from UDUS.
“The University has not graduated any student since the commencement of the strike action in February 2022.
“The Union challenges the self-acclaimed ‘Conciliator’ Dr. Ngige, to produce any factual evidence to back his crooked claims.
“His quest, for now, is to divide the Union through creating an unsavoury relationship between the medical lecturers and other members of the Union. This is after several unsuccessful attempts to divide the Union through the sponsorship of selected academics to form a parallel union,” the union stated.
They called on the Nigerian government to take necessary action and call the minister to order.