ONE MONTH WARNING STRIKE AS MINISTER OF EDUCATION WAS SURPRISED TOWARDS THEIR ACTION

The Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, on Wednesday, said he is looking for the Academic Staff Union of Nigeria (ASUU) for declaring a one-month warning strike at a time the Federal Government is attending to their demands.

 

The minister, who expressed surprise at the industrial action, denied that he had been shunning meetings with the union as he maintained that he had indeed been the one summoning them in the effort to resolve outstanding issues.

 

The university lecturers embarked on the strike on Monday to press their demands, which they claimed the Federal Government has been reluctant to meet.

 

Adamu spoke at the post-Federal Executive Council (FEC) media briefing at the presidential villa, Abuja, telling correspondents that if after several negotiations between ASUU and government, agreement was still not reached, it is no longer the fault of the government.

 

Fielding questions, the minister said: “ASUU, unfortunately, they have gone on strike and I am looking for them because all the issues are being addressed.

 

“The last thing that happened was that our committee looked at their demands but there are renegotiations going on. They submitted a draft agreement which the ministry is looking at.”

 

Adamu regretted that the decision by the union to go on strike was abrupt in the midst of negotiations.

 

On the draft agreement with ASUU, he said: “A committee is looking at it. Immediately it finishes, the government is meant to announce what it had accepted. Then suddenly, I heard them going on strike.”

 

Debunking allegations that he does not attend meetings with ASUU, Adamu stated: “ASUU will never say that. I always call the meeting myself. The meetings I didn’t attend were those that happened when I was in hospital in Germany.

 

“We want a peaceful resolution. The Federal Government is ready to meet them on all issues they have raised and if there are so many meetings and the gap is not closing, then I think it’s not the fault of the government.

 

“There is a solution to this. The negotiations are the solution and that is why I have said that I am surprised that ASUU has gone on strike.”

 

Asked if the government can reach an agreement with ASUU before the end of the 30-day strike, Adamu further said: “I can’t give you time. I am ready to reach an agreement with ASUU now but since I’m not the only one, I can’t give you time but certainly, we are going to reach an agreement very soon.”

 

The minister also defended the discriminatory cut-off marks for southern and northern prospective Common Entrance admission candidates for Unity Schools, saying that it is in line with the Federal Character principle.

 

He said the policy will remain until such a time it is no longer necessary, saying: “I have nothing to say on that. I am not aware of any difference unless it is meant to satisfy the requirements of Federal character. I think the federal character is required for the nation and it is accepted. There is nothing we can do about that. There would come a time when it would not be necessary.

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