CURSORY: The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, has denied storming out of the recent ASUU/FG truce meeting in anger, check out the explanation of what really happened.
Recall that it was reported that the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, was reported to have stormed out of the most recent ASUU/FG truce meeting in anger. In a recent statement, which was signed by Mr Olajide Oshundun, the Deputy Director, Press and Public Relations, in the ministry on Sunday in Abuja, the Minister had issued a strong warning to ASUU for not heeding to court order stating that they risks facing the consequences of contempt of court. In the same statement,the minister denied storming out of the meeting. It was revealed that he left the meeting to attend to other pressing matters with the permission of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, after making his presentation. It stated that the Secretary to the Government of the Federation was earlier granted such permission by the Speaker. The statement further recalled that at that meeting, Ngige addressed the two major issues over which ASUU is still on strike.It said, according to the minister, “on renegotiation of salaries and wages of lecturers, I sympathise with ASUU just like other Nigerian workers. “The economy is bad and hard time, biting hard on everybody. ASUU deserves no blame. “The Briggs Committee was the product of reconciliation of my ministry, which had to move to the ASUU’s direct employers – Ministry of Education for a Collective Bargaining Agreement, so we can arrive on what is good to be paid to ASUU, subject to approval by the President. “The President has a Presidential Committee on Salaries and Wages chaired by the Minister of Finance, with myself as co-chair and other members – National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission, Budget Office, etc. “Every MDA, whether drawing from the or not, must pass through this committee on any issue concerning salaries for approval, before transmission to the President. The report of the Briggs Committee did not unfortunately pass this route.”
It said that Ngige also revealed that when the issue of payment platform – UTAS – came up, he persuaded the President to “give the platform a trial in the spirit of Executive Order 3 and 4, and the SGF supported me”. “If the system is good, we adopt it for the whole country, but meanwhile the hardware is not there. How do you do it? “The test – the three of them – IPPIS, UTAS, UPPPS – have failed the test. Do you recommend something that has failed a test?. So, no matter how I love ASUU, I won’t support something that failed a test.’’