Senator Chris Ngige, Labour Minister
By Johnbosco Agbakwuru, ABUJA
THE Joint Action Committee, JAC, comprising the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities, SSANU, and the Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational Institutions, NASU, yesterday commended the efforts of the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige towards resolving their indefinite strikes.
Speaking at the resumption of talks between the JAC of the Unions and the Federal Government, the General Secretary of NASU, Comrade Peters Adeyemi thanked Ngige for his efforts which have started yielding the desired result.
Adeyemi recalled that Ngige had in the past made efforts to bring their employer to the negotiation table, but to no avail.
He, however, expressed happiness that the Minister’s efforts have started yielding fruits with the presence of the new Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Education, Peter Adejo at the latest conciliation meeting.
According to him, “We are attending this meeting with an open mind. We thank Your Excellency, Senator Ngige for the efforts you have made before you got tired of us. We started writing and you are no longer replying.
“Part of the efforts you have made consistently has started yielding results. We are now seeing the permanent secretary of education here. We can recall very vividly that your Excellency has done so much to get our Employers to attend meetings, which have started achieving the desired result. Today, I am particularly happy that the new permanent secretary has come to apologise.
“Honestly, I think the apology is not the problem for us. Our problem is that the Ministry (of Education) should do what is exactly expected of them. They should assist the Ministry of Labour which is saddled with the responsibility of restoring order in our system. And if they do their own part, I am very convinced that the problem will be resolved.
“Honestly, the Federal Ministry of Labour under this Minister has been doing very well. We need the other agencies of government to also do their own part of the bargain to have peace and tranquillity in our system.”
Adeyemi, however, said they were pained that this action has been prolonged by the government.
He said nobody should blame them for this action, adding that they were ready to go back to work as soon as the promises made to them in the last few years are fulfilled.
“We don’t want to stay at home for one minute any longer but that will be dependent on how government fulfils its own part of the agreement. So, we are here with an open mind. We don’t want to continue to disrupt the system. If the government refuses to fulfil its own part. We shouldn’t be blamed,” Adeyemi said.
Earlier, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education, Andrew Adejo tendered an apology to the unions on behalf of his Minister.
He said the impression that the Education Ministry abandoned their workers was not true but contrived to make it that way.
He urged the unions to forgive in the spirit of the just-concluded Lenten season and Ramadam, so that they would have a fruitful discussion, saying with the social apartheid arising from the spate of strikes and problems therefrom, the earlier the issues were resolved the better for everybody, especially the children and their education.
Making remarks, Ngige expressed hope that the meeting would be truthful, fruitful and cordial so that all those on strike would go back to work.
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