The Federal government has commended the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), for obeying the court order by calling off its eight-month-old strike, assuring that measures are being taken to reposition the nation’s education system and save Nigerians from the unpalatable experience of incessant strikes in future.
Minister of Labour Chris Ngige, hailed Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila and the leadership of the House of Representatives as well as all Nigerians who participated in various ways in the negotiations leading to the calling off of the strike.
A statement issued by the Ministry’s Deputy Director Press and Public Relations, Mr Olajide Oshundun on Friday reads, “We particularly recognize the patriotic efforts of the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Saad Abubakar III, the former President of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Rev. Supo Ayokunle, all members of Nigeria Inter Religious Council (NIREC) and the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria whose wisdom and intervention raised a ray of hope while the strike was at infancy but for ASUU’s intransigence to negotiation.
“We were forced to migrate the matter to the National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NICN) created by the 1999 Constitution as amended, for the settlement of industrial disputes because every channel of negotiation including the tripartite plus, in which eminent Nigerians participated in failed. We were left with no other option than to trigger Section 17 of the Trade Disputes Act .CAP T8, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 on dispute resolution mechanism in seeking the intervention of the National Industrial Court .
“ Now that ASUU has decided to obey the judgement of the National Industrial Court by calling off the devastating action, we apologize to all students and parents , of which the Honorable Minister is one, for this unduly prolonged strike, which is unwarranted ab initio.
“We wish to assure that with the decision, steps and measures being taken by the current administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, in holistic repositioning of higher education, a groundwork is being laid, of which we are confident, will save Nigerians, this unpalatable experience of incessant strike in future.
“ It is verily our hope that now that the strike has been called off, the National Industrial Court will deal with the substantive issues as contained in the referral letter by the Honourable Minister. This is to ensure that justice is given to all parties including ASUU and their employers- the Federal Ministry of Education who acts on behalf of the Federal Government.”
“The statement further noted that the Ministry will continue to cooperate with both parties in finding amicable solution to other issues not placed before the industrial court, in finding lasting solution to the instability in the university system.
“ We certainly can’t be less grateful to the judiciary for deepening our labour jurisprudence in upholding the essence of the 3rd alteration of the 1999 Constitution , especially as it relates to Sections 243 and 254A.” It added.
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