Attahiru Jega, former chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), says Chris Ngige, minister of labour and employment, has turned the industrial action by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) into a personal quarrel.
Speaking on Tuesday during a programme on Arise TV, Jega said Ngige is creating more problems than solutions.
“Unfortunately, right now, the minister of labour is not helping matters. He has turned this into a personal quarrel between him and the minister of education on one hand and between himself and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) on the other,” Jega said.
“While many other people are trying to find a way of addressing this situation so that students can go back to school and ASUU can go back to work, he is busy creating challenges.
“He now took the matter to the industrial court, now today, he now registered two unions and he is trying to proscribe ASUU.
“If this is allowed by this government, I think this is a recipe for disaster and it may really create more problems than it can solve on this matter of strike in the universities.”
ASUU has been on strike since February 2022 to press home the demand for improved funding for universities, and a review of salaries for lecturers, among other issues.
Several meetings between ASUU and the federal government have ended in deadlock.
Consequently, the federal government went to court to challenge the strike.
On September 21, the National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NICN) ordered ASUU to call off its strike, after which the union filed an appeal seeking a stay of execution of the judgment.
On Tuesday, the federal government formally recognised the Congress of Nigerian University Academics (CONUA), a breakaway faction of ASUU.
The minister of labour and employment presented the certificate of registration to CONUA at an event held in Abuja.
The move is believed to be an attempt to reduce the influence of ASUU.