Says there was no plan to proscribe ASUU
Former Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, has blasted the House Committee on Tertiary Education, Aminu Goro, for alleged fabrications, outright lies and unwarranted attacks on the floor of the House, towards political gains, saying there was no plan to proscribe the Academic staff union of Universities, ASUU.
Ngige who expressed shock by the lawmaker’s outburst, urged the outgoing House of Representative member to go back and read the Trade Union Act, (2004) and not to rubbish other persons for political survival.
The former minister in a statement from his Media Office, among others, said “The Minister of Labour does not need Presidential approval to withdraw certificates of registration of Trade Unions. The Trade Union Act 2004 permits the Registrar of Trade Unions to cancel a certificate suo moto in Section 7 especially as ASUU had breached Section 3 on the annual rendition of Audited Accounts. ASUU was in default for five years.
“Another Section of Trade Dispute Act; The Essential Services Act Cap T9 permits the President to proscribe any erring Union involved in an illegal strike but all through the 2022 ASUU strike neither the President nor any of his Ministers in Education or Labour mooted such an idea because the Minister of Labour and Employment has done the right thing by the transmission of an Instrument on the issue to the National Industrial Court of Nigeria for adjudication in accordance with Section 17 of TDA. 2004. So former President Buhari and his officials chose the path of the rule of Law in dealing with the unending strike when conciliation failed instead of an arm-twisting proscription as alleged by Aminu Goro.
“Aminu’s cock and bull narrative aimed at sweetening the ears of the audience including fellow outgoing members at the expense of other patriotic Nigerians including the former President should be discouraged by all including the outgoing Speaker. No such incident ever happened on the Executive side and hence the painted scenario never took place at all. This is by no means to say that the Outgoing Speaker and Chief of Staff designates to the President did not contribute to the resolution of the issue with ASUU. He did and passionately too like many others on the government side and the Traditional and Religious leaders. But the ultimate solution and relief came from the Judiciary. Judges of both the NICN and the Court of Appeal who interpreted the relevant sections of the Trade Dispute Act 2004 without fear or favour and ordered ASUU back to the classroom.”
He added that ASUU violated section 37 of the Trade Unions Acts CAP T14 that required the registered trade unions to submit their annual audited accounts and financial returns to the Registrar of Trade Unions on or before 1st June every year. Section 7 of the Acts gives the Registrar the power to cancel the certificate of registration of any trade union that deliberately contravened or continue to contravene any provision of the Act after receipt of a warning in writing from the Registrar.
“Warning in writing was duly issued to ASUU in 2019 and 2021 but deliberately and in order to leave them with a window for peaceful resolution this right was not exercise.”