By Johnbosco Agbakwuru, Abuja
The Federal Government directed a ministerial committee to review the registration application of Congress of University Academics, CONUA, within four weeks and report back.
CONUA is a group of university lecturers that have broken away from the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, and has applied to the Federal Government for registration.
Speaking when he granted audience to the leadership of CONUA in his office in Abuja, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige promised to look into the request by the group to be registered as a trade.
Speaking earlier, CONUA lamented that constant strikes have done the university system more harm than good.
The group’s National Coordinator, Niyi Sunmonu said as academics and researchers, lecturers were supposed to have evaluated the effect of strikes on Nigeria’s institutions and especially on “our collective psyche.”
According to him, “From the preliminary report that we have, the strike has done more bad than good to our universities.
“Nigerian Universities should rank comfortably with any other university in any part of the world.
“So we want to ensure a seamless and uninterrupted academic calendar in the university system.” He appealed to the minister to reconsider CONUA’s request to be registered as a trade union.
He said CONUA members have for long ceased to be part of ASUU and were not willing to be part of it, adding that ASUU no longer represents the interests and aspirations of CONUA members.
He said, “Rather, CONUA members are independent academics who decided to come together and form a formidable union for its members and the advancement of education in Nigeria.
“We should constructively engage the government because the government cannot see what we see and we will not see what the government sees but when we have our mind made up in a constructive manner we will come to a reasonable agreement to further progress our universities and for the advancement of the nation.”
Recall that ASUU has been on strike since March, 23 this year and had made nine demands from the government which included N220 billion revitalisation fund, Earned Academic Allowances, Constitution of Visitation Panels in the universities among others.
Meanwhile, Senator Ngige, alongside government representatives will be meeting with ASUU today at the Minister’s office, Abuja.