The Federal Government yesterday described as illegal the two-week warning strike embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, made the declaration while briefing newsmen after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the State House, Abuja.
He explained that by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention, ASUU ought to notify government before embarking on any strike.
“They didn’t give us the mandatory notice before they started the strike. So, this strike is illegal. No employee is permitted to dictate to the employer, it is in the ILO Convention,” Ngige stressed.
He furher explained that the issue at stake was the Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System (IPPIS), which the Buhari administration had introduced to curb corruption and fish out ghost workers in the system.
The minister said both the government and the union had agreed that leakages and graft should be frontally addressed but differed on the IPPIS.
The former Anambra State governor insisted that it would amount to corruption for the University lecturers not to teach the students but expect to be paid for the period they were on strike, threatening that government would invoke the “no work, no pay” policy.
Also, the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, briefed on the memo approved from his ministry.
He said: “ We had one memorandum in respect of the 9th Mile section of the Enugu-Onitsha highway just to disengage the contractor who was previously handling that 15-kilometre section and award it to the contractor that now has the majority of the route, which is RCC.
“So, Council approved that in favour of Messrs RCC for the sum of N29.4 billion. It is rolled into the existing contract, which I think was for 24 months.”
Moreover, the Federal University of Technology, Owerri (FUTO) chapter of ASUU has called on the Federal Government to declare a five-year state of emergency on the education sector.
Its chairperson, Dr. Christopher Echereobia, made the appeal while briefing newsmen shortly after the congress of the body yesterday in the Imo State capital.
Besides, the Modibbo Adama University of Technology (MAUTECH) has shut both academic and administrative activities to join the ongoing industrial action.
The branch chairman, Dr. El-Maude Jibreel Gambo, made the decision known to The Guardian yesterday after their emergency meeting in Yola.
Also yesterday, the Ambrose Alli University (AAU) Ekpoma chapter joined the fray.
The decision was contained in a release signed by the chapter’s chairperson and secretary, Drs. Monday Lewis Igbafen and Anthony Coker-Aizebioje, after an emergency congress meeting.