By Cross Udo, Abuja
A former Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, yesterday faulted the claims by a member of the House of Representatives, Aminu Goro, who allegedly said it was the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila that saved the withdrawal of the certificate of registration of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
Senator Ngige described the claim as all lies, concoctions, and fabrication.
A statement issued by the former Minister’s Media Office and signed by Emmanuel Nzomiwu noted that though the Speaker played a prominent role in his intervention, the registrar of trade unions has the constitutional powers to cancel the certificate of any registered trade union if it fell short of the law.
According to the statement, “The Minister of Labour does not need presidential approval to withdraw certificates of registration of trade unions. The Trade Union Act 2004 permits the Registrar of Trade Unions to cancel a certificate suo-moto in section seven, especially as ASUU had breached Section 3 on the annual rendition of Audited Accounts, they were in default for five years.
“Another Section of Trade Dispute Act…The Essential Services Act Cap T9, permits the President to proscribe any erring union involved in an illegal strike but all through the 2022 ASUU strike neither the President nor any of his ministers of Education or Labour mooted such an idea because the HML&E has done the right thing by transmission of an Instrument on the issue to the National Industrial Court of Nigeria for adjudication under Section 17 of TDA. 2004.
“So, former President Muhammadu Buhari and his officials chose the path of the rule of Law in dealing with the debilitating strike when conciliation failed instead of an arm-twisting proscription as alleged by Hon Aminu Goro.
“Hon Aminu’s narrative which is a cock and bull story is designed maybe to be sweet to the ear of the audience, that is his fellow outgoing members and maybe the outgoing Speaker at the expense of other patriotic Nigerians including the former President should be discouraged by all including the outgoing Speaker as no such incident ever happened on the Executive side and hence the painted scenario never took place at all.
“This is by no means to say that the outgoing Speaker and Chief of Staff designated to the President did not contribute to the resolution of the issue with ASUU.
“He did and passionately too like many others in the Government side and the traditional and Religious leaders but the ultimate solution and relief came from the Judiciary.
“Judges of both the NICN and the Court of Appeal who interpreted the relevant sections of the Trade Dispute Act 2004 without fear or favour and ordered ASUU back to the classroom”