The Nigerian government has presented certificates of registration to two more academic unions of universities.
They are the Nigerian Association of Medical and Dental Academics (NAMDA), and the Congress of Nigerian University Academics (CONUA).
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, presented both unions with certificates of registration at the ministry on Tuesday.
The development is the latest ploy by the government to bring the striking Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to its knees over the almost eight-month-old industrial action.
“These associations will exist side by side with ASUU in Nigerian universities,” said Mr Ngige, citing the ILO convention.
He advised the newly registered academic unions not to interfere with the activities of the university management and the governing council.
According to him, ASUU is interfering with the rights of employers by insisting that the University Transparency and Accountability Solutions (UTAS) be adopted as a payment platform for its members.
The latest move by the minister may not be unconnected with the recent brickbats between him and the President of ASUU, Emmanuel Osodeke.
The duo had engaged in hot arguments at a meeting on Thursday conveyed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila.
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The minister had accused Mr Osodeke of deliberately frustrating government’s efforts at resolving the crisis and mobilising Nigerians against the government but the union leader said Mr Ngige was peddling lies against the union.
Both Mr Ngige and the leadership of ASUU have constantly engaged in confrontation, a development that may have informed President Muhammadu Buhari’s directive that the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, should take over the negotiations.
CONUA, a rival academic union to the striking Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), started its registration process in 2018.
The union, led by ‘Niyi Sunmonu, a lecturer at Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), has constantly dissociated itself from any strike declared by ASUU.
Qosim Suleiman is a reporter at Premium Times in partnership with Report for the World, which matches local newsrooms with talented emerging journalists to report on under-covered issues around the globe
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