Tunde Opalana, Abuja
Senator Barau Jibrin representing Kano North Senatorial District has said that the absence of a cabinet composed of ministers doesn’t in anyway create an administrative vacuum in President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.
The senator said there are permanent secretaries in each of the ministries that act in the absence of ministers pending the appointment of minsters by the federal government.
Sen. Barau made this clarification on Tuesday while answering questions on a motion he moved during plenary to call for the urgent intervention of the Senate on the pending industrial action by the Non -Academic Staff Union of Universities (NASU) and the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU).
He was reacting to a question on whether the absence of ministers of education and labour and productivity would not jeopardise a proposed inter- ministerial parley with the two unions and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
The senator who was optimistic that the intervention was not coming too late despite the fact that the two unions had commenced a three- day warning strike, said efforts would be made to meet with the leadership of the unions alongside officials of the two ministries.
Moving the motion during plenary, Sen. Barau notified the Senate of the impending industrial action by NASU and SSANU which he said if allowed to go ahead will disrupt academic activities in Nigerian universities.
He noted that the two bodies were contesting the exclusion of their members from the national university pension scheme and the disparity in the payment of allowances at the rate of 80 per cent to academic staff and 20 per cent to non – academic staff.
Senators Chimaroke Nnamani (Enugu Central), Adamu Aliero (Kebbi Central), Ibrahim Oloriegbe ( Kwara Central) and Opeyemi Bamidele (Ekiti Central) all cautioned against allowing the industrial action to proceed at the present moment of security challenges in the country.
The Senate therefore, urged the federal government to dialogue with the two unions to assuage frayed nerves and settle their grievances amicably.