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Keyamo dismisses ASUU strike as less important

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Keyamo said the government has done all it could to end ASUU strike, adding that parents should appeal to the union to call off the strike.

By Jeffrey Agbo

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Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo, on Friday night suggested that the six-month-old strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) was not important.

During his appearance on ‘Politics Today’ a programme on Channels Television, Keyamo told the anchor, Seun Okinbaloye, following questions asked about ASUU strike that they should discuss “more critical issues.”

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Keyamo said the government has done all it could to end ASUU strike, adding that parents should appeal to the union to call off the strike.

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He said: “The moment ASUU went on strike we intervened. What is the manner again beyond that? The moment they declared the strike even when the strike began, we called them to a meeting.

“What manner is more than that? It’s not that we left them to go on strike first and we were sleeping. And three months later we said ‘can we start talking?’

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“The moment they declared, we immediately called them and said ‘Let us start talking.’ And as the talk started they still went on strike.

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“You cannot allow one sector of the economy to hold you by the jugular and then blackmail you to go and borrow N1.2 trillion for overheads when our total income would be about N6.1 trillion. And you have roads to build, health centres to build, other sectors to take care of.”

Keyamo added, “I want to tell parents to go and beg ASUU. Like the President said the other time, those who know them, appeal to their sense of patriotism.

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“Do you want me to kneel down as a parent also? I can knell down on air and beg them. It has come to that point, let them go back to classes. They are not the only one in Nigeria. They are not the only ones feeding from the federal purse. The nation cannot grind to a halt because we want to take care of the demands of ASUU.

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“Let’s go to more critical issues while I am here.”

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Some of ASUU’s demands are the withdrawal of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel information system (IPPIS) and adoption of the University, Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS); and University Peculiar Payroll and Payment System (UPPPS) for the non-academic unions.

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