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Gov Umahi says Nigerian govt dragged ASUU to court out of frustration

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David Nweze Umahi

As resolutions on the lingering strike by university lecturers tarry, Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State, on Monday, said the Federal Government approached the Industrial Court of Nigeria out of frustration.

The governor stated this when he featured in a Channels TV interview, Sunrise Daily, monitored by Ripples Nigeria.

The tussel between the Federal Government and Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) had resulted in the shutdown of public universities for over eight months.

The FG through the Minister of Labour, Chris Ngige, had approached the Industrial Court for a way-out, which resulted in a ruling ordering lecturers to go back to classrooms.

The Union, however, had appealed the judgement, stressing that the FG wasn’t ready to address the issue.

This development had propelled the intervention by members of the House of Representatives and the Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, had promised to meet with President Muhammadu Buhari next week for a way forward.

Speaking on the crisis in the interview, Umahi noted that the striking lecturers and FG should shift grounds in the interest of Nigerians.

Read also:‘Rely on what’s tangible’, Gov Umahi tells Nigerians in aftermath of Tinubu’s ‘proof of life’ video

He also commented on the poor management of funds in public universities, adding that a transparent mechanism should be in place to monitor the use of funds.

He said: “I think the FG is frustrated. My position is that the case in the court is not an issue.

“President Muhammadu Buhari is being honest. He doesn’t want to take the burden to the next adminstration like the past ones did. I think there is every reason for ASUU to listen. Of course, the union is right. Even my brother, Wike, said it. But there is no way FG can cover the whole money now. So let’s agree on what is feasible.

“Again, the management of funds in our universities is another thing all together. There must be a system to check transparency in the use of funds in the universities. It’s one thing to ask for funds but how we manage the resources is very important.

“So I think that ASUU should try to shift ground. FG should also do the same. Let the students go back to school and we can have some useful discussion. I’m in sympathy with the students, ASUU and Federal Government.”

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