President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Professor Emmanuel Osodeke, has blasted the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, over his attitude toward the strike embarked by university lecturers.
He stated this on Thursday during his appearance on Sunrise Daily. His comments mark the latest development in the impasse between the Federal Government and the union over its four months strike.
“What the Minister of Labour has done is a complete insult to the character of people like Professor Nimi Briggs, Senator Chris Adighije, Professor Olu Obafemi,” Professor Osodeke said.
“The minister, instead of looking for how to resolve the problem, is busy abusing his colleagues, abusing even the Minister of Education.”
In the months after the strike started, attempts to end it, including student protests, failed. The Minister of Labor and Employment and the union occasionally engage in verbal skirmishes. Both sides are currently levelling inaccurate information.
On Wednesday, Dr. Ngige said there is no collective bargaining agreement between the Federal Government and ASUU.
“This clarification has become necessary given the deluge of deliberate misinformation being dished out to Nigerians by the President of ASUU, Prof. Osodeke, as well as his branch leaders, calling on President Buhari to sign an agreement which they claimed to have reached with the Federal Government,” a statement by the ministry’s spokesperson, Olajide Oshundun, read in part.
However, Professor Osodoke said, “It is so sad that we have gotten to a stage where our children are lamenting at home, and the Minister of Labour is busy churning out fake information and misinforming the public, trying to undermine the integrity of ASUU.”
He urged Dr Ngige to provide evidence to back up his assertion that members of ASUU walked his delegation out of a meeting.
The ASUU President claimed that after failing to persuade the strikers to end their walkout by withholding their pay for five months, Ngige turned to fabricating news stories.