Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, has blamed the Academic Staff Union of Universities for prolonging the industrial strike in the country.
The minister said the union had made negotiation difficult for both parties.
Mr Ngige disclosed this in a statement issued by Patience Onuobia, Acting Head of Press and Public Relation in the ministry on Tuesday in Abuja.
The minister was reacting to the insinuations that he was responsible for the ongoing action by the union.
Mr Ngige, however, said he had done what many could not do to forestall strikes by ASUU, and that ongoing negotiation is being made impossible by ASUU.
“For example, ASUU insists that National Information and Technology Development Agency (NITDA) should take the payment platform, University Transparency Accountability Solution (UTAS) that it developed.
“That they should deploy it for payment in the university whether it is good or bad, whether it failed integrity and vulnerability test or not .
“ASUU members know that fraud committed on payment platforms can run into billions. If a hacker adds zeros to hundreds, it becomes billions,” he said.
Mr Ngige noted that NITDA brought out the report of its test on UTAS, noting that it passed the user acceptability but failed vulnerability and integrity tests that were the two critical tests that prevented fraud.
“As a conciliator, I spoke to ASUU and NITDA to continue the test and see whether they could make up the lapses and arrive at 100 per cent because that is what NITDA insists on.
According to him, NITDA said they cannot even take the platform at 99.9 per cent of vulnerability and integrity. That they can’t take that risk on a payment system, that it can be hacked into.
“These are the issues. So if you hear someone saying Ngige is responsible, it is wrong. I’m not the one that implements. I’m the conciliator.
“I conciliate, so that there will be no more warfare and even in conciliation, once I apprehend, the parties go back to status quo ante- which means, you call off the strike .
“ASUU should have by now called off the strike because that’s what the law says.
“I have earlier, while we convened the National Labour Advisory Council in Lagos last month, urged the NLC to which ASUU is affiliated, to intervene in this respect,” Mr Ngige said.