The Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen. Chris Ngige, on Tuesday blamed the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) for the prolonged strike in the country.
In a statement issued by the Acting Head of Press and Public Relation in the ministry, Patience Onuobia, Ngige said the union had made negotiation difficult for both parties.
The minister was reacting to the insinuations that he was responsible for the ongoing strike by the union.
Ngige, however, said he had done what many could not do to forestall strikes by ASUU.
He stressed that negotiation was being made impossible by the union.
ASUU embarked on a 30-day warning strike on February 14 over the Federal Government’s failure to honour the agreement reached by both parties.
The union later extended the strike by eight weeks over the government’s recalcitrant attitude on the matter.
He said: “For example, ASUU insists that the National Information and Technology Development Agency (NITDA) should take the payment platform, University Transparency Accountability Solution (UTAS) that it developed.
“The union wants to deploy the platform for payment in the university whether it is good or bad, whether it failed an integrity and vulnerability test or not.
“ASUU members know that fraud committed on payment platforms can run into billions. If a hacker adds zeros to hundreds, it becomes billions.”
“As a conciliator, I spoke to ASUU and NITDA to continue the test and see whether they could make up the lapses and arrive at 100 per cent because that is what NITDA insists on.
“NITDA said they cannot even take the platform at 99.9 per cent of vulnerability and integrity. That they can’t take that risk on a payment system, that it can be hacked into.
“These are the issues. So if you hear someone saying Ngige is responsible, it is wrong. I’m not the one that implements. I’m the conciliator.
“I conciliate, so that there will be no more warfare and even in conciliation, once I apprehend, the parties go back to status quo ante- which means, you call off the strike.
“ASUU should have by now called off the strike because that’s what the law says.
“I have earlier, while we convened the National Labour Advisory Council in Lagos last month, urged the NLC to which ASUU is affiliated, to intervene in this respect.”
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