By our correspondent
The Federal Government has again frowned at the decision of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to embark on a 4-week warning strike, regretting that the action was abrupt in the midst of negotiations.
The Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, who made this position known to State House correspondents at the end of the meeting of the Federal Executive Council (FEC), denied that he had been shunning meetings with the union.
Vice-President, Yemi Osinbajo, presided over the meeting at the Council Chamber of the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Wednesday.
It had been reported that ASUU on Monday declared a one-month warning strike over unresolved demands. ASUU claimed that the federal government has been reluctant to meet its demands. The Minister, however, said he had been the one summoning meetings with ASUU in an effort to resolve contentious issues.
He said, “ASUU, unfortunately, have gone on strike and I am looking for them because all the issues are being addressed. The last thing that happened was that our committee looked at their demands but there are renegotiations going on. They submitted a draft agreement which the ministry is looking at.”
On the draft agreement with ASUU, he said: “A committee is looking at it. Immediately it finishes, the government is meant to announce what it had accepted. Then suddenly, I heard them going on strike.”
Adamu dismissed the insinuation that he deliberately refused to attend meetings with ASUU. “ASUU will never say that. I always call the meeting myself. The meetings I didn’t attend were those that happened when I was in hospital in Germany. We want a peaceful resolution. The federal government is ready to meet them on all issues they have raised and if there are so many meetings and the gap is not closing, then, I think it’s not the fault of the government.”
Adamu noted that there is a solution to the issues and negotiations are the solution.
When asked if the government can reach an agreement with ASUU before the end of the 30-day strike, the minister said: “I can’t give you time. I am ready to reach an agreement with ASUU now but since I’m not the only one, I can’t give you time but certainly, we are going to reach an agreement very soon.”