The Ministry of Labour and Employment has lauded Nigerians for their support in the negotiations leading to the end of strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
Mr Olajide Oshundun, Deputy Director Press in the ministry, said this in a statement he signed on Friday in Abuja.
Oshundun said Sen. Chris Ngige, the Minister of Labour and Employment, had expressed gratitude to all well-meaning Nigerians who had participated in the various negotiations to ensure the strike was called off.
He said that with the steps the Federal Government is taking, Nigerian students will be saved the unpalatable experience of intermittent, prolonged industrial actions in future.
Oshundun also said “in a special way,” Ngige expressed gratitude to Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila and the leadership of the House of Representatives, revealing , “we particularly recognise the patriotic efforts of the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III, the former President of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Rev. Supo Ayokunle.
He also commended all members of Nigeria Inter Religious Council (NIREC) and Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria, whose wisdom and intervention raised a ray of hope while the strike was at infancy but for ASUU’s intransigence to negotiation.
“We were forced to migrate the matter to the National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NICN), created by the 1999 Constitution as amended, for the settlement of industrial disputes.
“This is because every channel of negotiation, including the tripartite plus, in which eminent Nigerians participated in, failed.
“We were left with no other option than to trigger Section 17 of the Trade Disputes Act .CAP T8, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004, on dispute resolution mechanism in seeking the intervention of the National Industrial Court,’’ he said.
Now, ASUU has decided to obey the judgment of the NICN by calling off the devastating action.
“We apologise to all students and parents, of which the minister is one, for this unduly prolonged strike, which is unwarranted ab initio,’’ he said.
He gave the assurance that with the decision, steps and measures being taken by the current administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, in repositioning higher education, a groundwork is being laid.
He added “we are confident that this will save Nigerians, this unpalatable experience of incessant strike in future.
“It is verily our hope that now that the strike has been called off, the National Industrial Court will deal with the substantive issues as contained in the referral letter by the minister.
“This is to ensure that justice is given to all parties, including ASUU and their employers – the Federal Ministry of Education which acts on behalf of the Federal Government,’’ he said.
He further noted that the Ministry of Labour and Employment will continue to cooperate with both parties in finding amicable solution to other issues not placed before the industrial court.