More trouble in university system as FG brushes aside ASUU, endorses rival union


By Adanna Nnamani, Abuja

The conflict between the University Academic Staff Union and the federal government has just taken a new turn as the FG presents a letter of approval for registration from the Congress of University Academics (CONUA).

FG has also approved the registration of the Nigeria Association of Medical & Dental Lecturers in Academics (NAMDA).

CONUA is the splinter group of the striking University Academic Staff Union (ASUU).

The group opposed the union’s ongoing strike which began on February 14 and has been fighting for years to gain recognition for FG.

Minister of Labor and Employment, Chris Ngige presented the letters and copies of the Trade Unions Act to the groups in his office in Abuja saying, “The Federal Ministry of Labor and Employment, in the exercise of its mandate in the management of labor relations and the administration of trade unions to ensure a harmonious industrial relations system in the country decided to approve the registration of two (2) other trade unions in the sub-sector university of Nigerian university.The university sub-sector is a major element in the development of the socio-economic growth of any nation.Knowledge they say is power.

“It should be noted that Section 3(2) of the Trade Unions Act, CAP. T14, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (LFN) 2004 gives the Honorable Minister of Labor and Employment the power to consolidate an existing Workers’ or Employers’ Union. The referenced article states that “No combination of workers or employers shall be registered as a trade union without the approval of the Minister after he is satisfied that it is expedient to register the trade union either by combining existing unions. register a new union or otherwise….

“In view of the foregoing, Senator (Dr) Chris Nwabueze Ngige, in exercise of the authority vested in me as Honorable Minister of Labor and Employment, hereby approves the registration of : Congress of University Scholars of Nigeria (CONUA), and Nigerian Association of Medical and Dental University Lecturers (NAMDA)

“These associations will exist side by side with ASUU in Nigerian universities in the spirit and principles of the International Labor Organization (ILO) fundamental convention nos. 87 & 98 dealing respectively with freedom of association and the protection of the right to organize, and the right to organize and collective bargaining; as well as the induction

The minister lamented that classrooms at public universities across the country were closed and students stayed home by the ASUU strike despite a series of pledges to resolve the trade dispute by the federal government.

According to him, “In accordance with the provisions of the Labor Disputes Act, CAP. TS, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, this strike was apprehended and conciliations were carried out in this ministry on 22nd February 2022 and 1st March 2022. However, all conciliation efforts failed resulting in the referral of the commercial dispute to the National Labor Court of Nigeria (NICN) for adjudication in accordance with the legal processes for resolving commercial disputes. At NICN, an interlocutory injunction order was obtained asking the union to get back to work while the suit is heard on the merits; an order that the ASUU leadership and members refused to obey. Interestingly, many university professors at public universities had indicated their willingness to return to work while negotiations continue”

Ngige said the two unions have applied for registration since 2018 due to irreconcilable differences as they do not believe in recurring strikes as a solution to all social unrest. “They also accused the ASUU executive of not reporting revenues and expenses for years. The Ministry of Labor and Employment has set up a committee to examine the merits of their application. The committee saw merit in the application and recommended approval for registration of the association by the Registrar of Trade Unions (RTU) since 2020. But for the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic and the recurring strike of the ASUU, it would have been done.

“NAMDA, like their colleagues at CONUA, had applied for registration as professors of medicine in the university system under various groups. They include physicians who provide preclinical teaching of basic medical courses and honorary consultants who teach clinical students. said the minister.

Ngige revealed that the new unions will be entitled to all rights and privileges accruing to such university associations, including but not limited to receiving dues from their members in accordance with Section 17 of the Trade Unions Act. , membership in the Nigerian University Pension Management Company Limited (NUPEMCO) and being on the CONUAS salary structure/scheme.

“They are also entitled to Earned Academic Allowances (EAAs) and all other allowances attached to it.” He said.

CONUA’s National Coordinator, Dr ‘Niyi Sunmonu, upon receiving the endorsement letter on behalf of the union, said, “We are also deeply grateful to the many personalities and supporters whose good advice and concrete actions facilitated the success we have witnessed today. . We believe in the saying that to whom much is given, much is expected. So we would constantly strive to make them all proud of CONUA.

“We appreciate the whole membership of the Union for believing in the rightness of the cause of CONUA and for believing in the leadership of the Union, and thus to remain wholesomely steadfast, even when disconcerting and demoralizing situations have arisen. produced.

“In this journey, the invaluable role of the media cannot be ignored. We are truly grateful to the media and look forward to more mutually beneficial interactions as we strive to build this nation.


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