The presidency has described as untrue media that the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, was given two weeks to resolve the lingering face-off between the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and the government.
The government criticised the unnamed sources who fed false information to the media, saying the matter “ought to be beyond spin-doctoring and conjectures.”
In a statement Wednesday, the Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, confirmed PREMIUM TIMES exclusive report which detailed how Mr Buhari ordered the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige to withdraw from the ongoing negotiation with ASUU.
The statement reads in part; “The outcome of the meeting held by President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday with relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to end the agitations by university unions ought to be beyond spin-doctoring and conjectures. It is a pity that almost all media houses allowed themselves to be deceived by interested sources that are not the authorised spokesmen of the government.
“Neither during nor after the meeting was any ultimatum given to the Minister of Education. During the meeting, the Minister of Education requested that the Minister of Labour hands off the negotiation to allow him lead and conclude what he had earlier on started with the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU). And he promised that he could get an agreement within the shortest possible time, possibly two to three weeks.”
Mr Shehu added that Mr Adamu would carry along other “relevant ministries and agencies with statutory functions and duties relating to the issues involved.”
Meanwhile, the government has said it is optimistic that the matter would be resolved soon, even as it appealed to all concerned to be open minded.
Mr Shehu added; “The Presidency is optimistic that agreements can be reached in an even shorter period if all parties/stakeholders are not unrealistically obstinate. We appeal to the parties to work together to end the strikes.
“On the part of the administration, all doors remain open for dialogue and the resolution of the issues.”
The government also urged the media not to try to spread misinformation on the ASUU crisis
“The orchestrated media narratives seeking to present an entirely different picture, attributed to sources, in the last 24 hours are not helpful at all,” the statement said.
Minister urges aviation workers not to join NLC protest on ASUU
Meanwhile, ahead of the planned two-day nationwide protest by the Nigeria Labour Congress in solidarity with ASUU, the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, has appealed to the country’s aviation workers not to join the protest.
The minister, who spoke after the weekly federal executive council meeting at the Presidential Villa in Abuja on Wednesday, said the civil aviation sector should be seen “as a critical national security enterprise.”
Mr Sirika said his ministry has consistently engaged the aviation workers’ union and that the recent threat to join the protest is also being discussed.
He said; “I’m naturally concerned about this if the aviation union will shut down in support of ASUU. I would say they have no need to. I will also say that we should begin to look at civil aviation as a critical national security enterprise. It has all the implications.
“We should not contemplate or think about an aviation disaster. We should also think about the general activity of the economy of Nigeria without civilisation. It’s okay. This is democracy, you can push for demands, but in pressing for demands you should be reasonable in doing so. Where, the life that you’re trying to promote, would be seriously affected and hampered. Where lives can be lost because of your own activity. I think it should be reconsidered. So, civil aviation workers, I think, should not be part of this.”
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