The Federal Ministry Labour and Employment has justified the registration of the Congress of Nigerian University Academics (CONUA) as university lecturers’ union and the National Association of Medical and Dental Academics (NAMDA).

Minister of labour and employment, Chris Ngige, presented certificates of registration to the new unions in Abuja today. He said their formation was necessitated by the need to unbundled the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) in the Nigeria’s university unionism.

Ngige explained that the two associations will now be accorded full rights of operation on their own while existing in parallel with ASUU and NARD but within the bounds of trade union act.

The minister said the issuance of the certificates followed after the end of 90 days of unchallenged government gazette of the unions in line with the extant laws.

He said, “In 2020, CONUA had complained of lack of democracy, and transparency in the running and financing of the organisation and that ASUU had not rendered their remitted account and wrote ASUU asking them to bring their accounts for 2016, 2017,2018, 2019 and 2020 and nothing was done, so the committee felt that these associations have a just case.

“So, the ministry decided to register the members of CONUA to operate as a full-fledged union for which we have issued a certificate of registration. When you have issues, go into meeting with your employers, don’t come to us. You should operate under mutual respect for your employers and your employer also respecting you.

Meanwhile, CONUA national president, Niyi Sunmonu, while accepting the certificate vowed that there may never be a total shutdown of Nigerian universities again. Though Niyi Sunmonu implored the support and cooperation of the federal government for effective take off but assured that these unions will not let their nation down as they would diligently continue to perform their duties.

“Honourable minister, ever since CONUA was registered, many Nigerian university academics were liberated from the bondage of ASUU. There has been a breath of fresh air in the system, that is now ventilated with the air of freedom. One important implication about the registration of additional academic unions by the Honourable Minister, is that there may never be a total shutdown of our universities ever again,” Sunmonu said.

NAMDA vice president, Dr Aliu Mohammad, also said with the registration of the association, Nigeria will get back its glory of producing quality of doctors.