The Federal Government on Thursday accused the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) of being responsible for the on-going #EndSARS protest and other civil unrest across the country, saying that its prolong industrial action has largely encouraged the protest and unrest.

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, made the allegation against the university lecturers while speaking at the conciliatory meeting between the Federal Government and ASUU in Abuja.

The Labour minister as the head of Federal Government delegation, led the meeting, while ASUU President, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, led the Union delegation.

Ngige believes that if ASUU has not been on strike and the university students are currently in schools, the widespread protest wouldn’t have been possible.

Notwithstanding, the minister pointed out that the government was working tirelessly to ensure that the matter is resolve for students to return to school.

On the University Transparency and Accountability System(UTAS), which is the alternative provided by the union after rejecting the government’s IPPIS, Ngige explained that government has done the first test out of the three to be done on the platform.

He stated that ASUU has presented UTAS platform against the use of Integrated Personal and Payroll System (IPPIS) which has being the caused of the industrial action.

According to the minister: “For the past one week, we have all been on our toes, we have been meeting and we pray that this meeting will yield some good fruits. We don’t take very great pleasure to the fact that the children who are supposed to be in school are being recruited into the #EndSARS, #EndStrike, #EndSWAT and all the kind of situations. As much as possible, we will try to see how we can meet ourselves halfway, so that we can resolve this crisis to the benefits of all and the country at large.”

Ngige pointed out that the government has commenced the process of testing UTAS which ASUU members claimed it accommodates the peculiarities of the university systems, adding that all the three stages of the test will be concluded within the time frame the union gave the government.

He said: “We have had the preliminary report and test run on the UTAS, which is the University Transparency Accountability Solution. We believe that with that, we will be able to get it right.

“Let me make it clear to members of the press, we never said UTAS will replace IPPIS as some of you are reporting. No! The UTAS developed by them is for the university systems and they feel that it captures the peculiarities that are configured to accommodate all the peculiarities of the university systems especially as it affects the Professors and other teaching staff, and even the non-academic staff. That is the situation.

“We, as government feel we are going to put it up for tests – three stages of test. We have done the first stage of test which is within the timeline of six months that ASUU promised. We are going to do other integrity test, Alpha test, Beta test and the one they call roll-over and other whatever test. It is the technologists that know all those tests. But this is the round we are going on now.”