The Federal Ministry of Labour has reacted to allegations that it rejected the four-year audit report of the Academic Staff Union of Universities.
The spokesperson for the labour ministry, Olajide Oshundun,told our correspondent in an exclusive chat on Friday, that the the audit report was not received because ASUU shunned a letter by the ministry demanding explanations on why the report was not submitted at the appropriate time.
The PUNCH had exclusively reported that the Federal Government had withheld the November 2022 check-off dues of ASUU members, despite the payment of pro-rata salaries for the month of November 2022.
The labour ministry’s spokesperson, who confirmed the development, noted that the decision to withhold the check-off dues was as a result of the failure of ASUU to make available to the ministry its audit report.
But while intervening in the matter, the Nigeria Labour Congress, in a letter to the Minister of Labour, Chris Ngige, insisted that ASUU made plans to submit the audit report but it was not received by the labour ministry.
Speaking with our correspondent as regards the allegations of the NLC, Oshundun said, “ Yes, it is true the audited report was not received from them and that was because they didn’t respond to the ministry’s initial letter, asking them to state the reason they refused to submit the audited report for four years.
“The ministry’s letter is explicit on this; they refused to submit their report as and when due and we asked for explanations. The next thing they did was to quickly submit the report instead of replying us in written form.
And let it be clear that it was when the ministry wrote and threatened that their certificate of registration might be withdrawn that they rushed to submit it.
“What they were expected to have done was to respond to the letter first and plead with the ministry for late submission of the documents. Because if the ministry should take it from them just like that, other trade unions may follow suit and just do things at their own will. Meanwhile there is a law guiding all of these processes.
“The ministry didn’t request again the documents but only wrote to get explanations for their failure to do the needful. I can also tell you the matter is already in court, so any further enquiry is sub judice.”