In an attempt to clip the wings of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), the Federal Government has presented a certificate of registration to the Congress of Nigerian University Academics (CONUA), a breakaway faction of ASUU, today.
CONUA is the splinter group of the striking Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
The group had opposed the union’s on-going strike which began on February 14 and has been battling to gain recognition from FG since 2017.
The minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige presented the certificate and a copy of the trade Union act to the group at his office in Abuja.
The government also approved the registration of the Nigerian Association of Medical and Dental Academics (NAMDA) as a trade union.
The Nigerian government had earlier said it will on Tuesday (today) present the certificate of recognition to the breakaway faction of the striking union.
CONUA leadership said it commenced its registration process in 2018 but the government said it was reluctant to approve the registration because it did not want to create a problem.
The union, led by ‘Niyi Sunmonu, a lecturer at Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), has constantly dissociated itself from any strike declared by ASUU.
In a letter of invitation to journalists on Tuesday, Olujide Oshundun, the Head, Press and Public Relations at the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment announced that the Minister, Chris Ngige, will be presenting the certificate of registration to the union on Tuesday (today).
The latest move by the minister may not be unconnected with the recent brickbats between him and the President of ASUU.
The duo had engaged in hot arguments at a meeting on Thursday conveyed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila.
The minister had accused ASUU president, Mr Osodeke of deliberately frustrating the 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, headquartered in OAU, was formed on the campus in 2018 following a leadership crisis within the university’s chapter of ASUU.
The crisis erupted in 2016 during the selection process of a new vice-chancellor of the university.
The then leadership of ASUU on the campus was accused of bias in its “blind support” for a particular candidate among many of its members in the race.
The crisis had also consumed the then outgoing vice-chancellor of the university, Bamitale Omole, who was then chased out of the institution by protesting non-academic staff unions.
An acting vice-chancellor was appointed who steered the ship of the university for one year until the appointment of Eyitope Ogunbodede in a substantive capacity. Mr Ogunbodede’s five-year tenure ended in June. Adebayo Bamire, a professor of agriculture, has since taken over.
Meanwhile, since 2018 when it was formed, CONUA said it now has branches across almost 17 universities across the country, and that it is awaiting its official registration by the Nigerian government.
ASUU has been on strike since February 14 to press home its demands.
Despite a ruling by the National Industrial Court on Sept 21, 2022 ordering the university to return to work, the University lecturers have remained adamant.
Last week, ASUU through its lawyers, filed an appeal against the court ruling.