Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige has said that there was nothing new about the strike action of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU.
The Minister, who revealed that ASUU has gone on strike a whooping 16 times in the last 20 years, described the situation as a recurring decimal.
This was contained in a statement issued by Acting Head of Press and Public Relations, Patience Onuobia, in the ministry on Tuesday.
In the statement, Ngige said the university lecturers were making negotiations difficult between the government and the Union.
The former Anambra State Governor said he had put in so much effort to do what many could not do to put a final stop to the strike actions by ASUU.
Ngige, however, lamented that the Union was making negotiations difficult by refusing to accept that the UPAS platform it presented for adoption did not meet the needed requirements.
“For example, ASUU insists that the National Information and Technology Development Agency should take the payment platform, University Transparency Accountability Solution that it developed.
“That they should deploy it for payment in the university whether it is good or bad, whether it failed integrity and vulnerability test or not.
“ASUU members know that fraud committed on payment platforms can run into billions. If a hacker adds zeros to hundreds, it becomes billions,’’ he said.
“As a conciliator, I spoke to ASUU and NITDA to continue the test and see whether they could make up the lapses and arrive at 100 per cent because that is what NITDA insists on.
“NITDA said they cannot even take the platform at 99.9 per cent of vulnerability and integrity. That they can’t take that risk on a payment system, that it can be hacked into.
“These are the issues. So if you hear someone saying Ngige is responsible, it is wrong. I’m not the one that implements it. I’m the conciliator.
“I conciliate so that there will be no more warfare and even in conciliation, once I apprehend, the parties go back to status quo ante- which means, you call off the strike.
“ASUU should have by now called off the strike because that’s what the law says.
“I have earlier, while we convened the National Labour Advisory Council in Lagos last month, urged the NLC to which ASUU is affiliated, to intervene in this respect,” Ngige said.
“In the ongoing ASUU imbroglio, I’m the conciliator. I bring them to negotiate with their employers.
“That is the Ministry of Education and the National University Commission as well as IPPIS, the office of the Accountant General of the Federation, all under the Ministry of Finance.
“At the end of every negotiation, we put down what everybody has agreed on in writing and add timelines for implementation.
“That they had gone on strike, 16 times. So, there is nothing new as such.
“What is new however is that I have done what Napoleon could not do,’’ he said.