Despite Wednesday’s judgment by the National Industrial Court, Abuja Division, the prolonged industrial action by the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, is far from being over.
The Court, while ruling in a motion filed by the Federal Government, ordered the lecturers to resume work immediately.
The Court invoked section 18 of the Trade Dispute Act and national interest of the Nigerian students to grant the request of the Federal Government for an order of injunction against the lecturers.
Justice Polycap Hamman compelled the lecturers to go back to work.
However, the university lecturers, who have been clamouring for the payment of their withheld salaries, are not ready to give up very easily.
Before the government approached the court, it had tried using ‘no-work-no-pay to break the lecturers’ ranks. When that did not work, a certain breakaway faction also tried to scuttle the strike, but that strategy failed too, prompting the government to approach the Industrial Court.
The judgement of the Court came as a big relief to the Federal Government, with the Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen. Chris Ngige, declaring that the Committee of Vice Chancellors would be asked to re-open the universities for teaching and learning.
A delighted Ngige said the judgment was a case of ‘no-victor, no-vanquished’, stressing that the ruling does not preclude further negotiation between the Federal Government and ASUU.
He said: “The ruling is in the best interest of the nation. It is a win-win situation for all of us- government, students, lecturers- all Nigerians indeed. I have just gotten the order of court asking ASUU to go back to work.
“It is a sound judgment. It is ‘no victor, no vanquished’. You doctors in academics are for now members of ASUU, but, you are here, even though you have dissociated yourself and you are working. We want to thank you for working and teaching your students.
“The court ruling does not preclude us from going on with further negotiation and consultations. The pro-chancellors met Mr. President and made some demands, such as topping up government offer and seeing whether there could be some bailout. Mr. President said in considering it, he will consult stakeholders. So, he is going to consult everybody.”
However, ASUU is not on the same page with Ngige as the president, Professor Emmanuel Osodeke, did not give any hint that the strike will end anytime soon.
Osodeke, during an interview on Channels Television on Wednesday night, instead warned about the far-reaching effects of the judgement.
According to him, the outcome of the verdict would be catastrophic.
“Let me tell you the catastrophe of what has just happened. The last time this happened was during the military era.
“I can assure you, when this strike is over, a large number of our lecturers are going to migrate from this country. When you are using force to push your lecturers to class.
“First of all, they said, ‘If we owe them, if we don’t pay them, they will come and beg us.’ Seven months, it didn’t work. Our members are still alive. And then, they went to court, you want to force them. It is a catastrophe,” Osodeke said.
It is unclear what could be the next line of action by the Federal Government, as well as the National Associations of Nigerian Students, NANS, which started civil action on Monday as a measure to compel both the FG and the ASUU to find a common ground.
The students’ body announced on Wednesday that no form of political campaign would be allowed unless the strike is called off.
Addressing a press conference at Ogun NUJ Secretariat, Abeokuta, the Chairman, NANS National Taskforce on #EndASUUStrikeNow, Raymond Ojo, said the blocking of roads and ports is just a warning.
“If the government fails to conclude all the negotiation and agreement with ASUU within the frame of two weeks, they will witness more protests and rallies all over the country, they will also witness the annoyance, anger and frustration of Nigerian students who have been at home for the past seven months.
“We promise them that we will not allow any political campaign to be held across the country until we are back to class,” he warned.
While the ASUU heads for the Appeal Court as it has already indicated, there are indications that the Government is ready to use the court order and enforce the reopening of universities.
But a cross section of lecturers, who spoke to DAILY POST, indicated unwillingness to obey the order pending when their salaries are paid.
ASUU Strike: NANS to block PH International Airport, Calabar-Itu highway
The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), South-South zone has threatened to block the Portharcourt International Airport, the Calabar Itu highway and shut down critical infrastructures in the zone if the strike action by the Association of Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) persists.
The South-South Coordinator, NANS ZONE B, Kings Tamarapreye disclosed this over the weekend during a press conference in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State capital.
Urging ASUU to heed to the court order and call off the 8-month- old strike, NANS urged the federal government to also accede to the demands of ASUU saying that students suffer the most.
Tamarapreye threatened that if NANS demands are not considered, their next action may be ‘worse than the EndSARS protest.
The statement read in parts, “As the leadership of NANS ZONE B, we wish to restate our total commitment towards the return of Nigerian students to the various campuses.
“We give a vote of confidence to comrade Usman Barambu-led administration for a job Weldon in bridging the gap between the federal government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
“We reaffirm our total stand by calling the body to honour the order of reopening the institutions as we equally call on the federal government to as a matter of urgency subscribe to the demands of ASUU.
“It is on record that in this particular Zone (NANS Zone B, South-South), we have led several forms of protest to see how we can return students to school because the main reason we were elected leaders is to prioritize the welfare of the students.
“It is a sad thing that for eight months now, Nigerian students are still at home. It is on record that we have blocked the roads of Akwa Ibom and the Cross River States in solidarity.
“There was a memo for the mobilization of the nation shut down and it is still on course. As we are appealing to ASUU to listen to the court order and return to school, if they fail, we will mobilize and shut down the whole country because the federal government has been so nonchalant to education in this country.
“We all know that education in this country is underfunded and we will not fold our arms, it is time we take our destinies into our hands. In this South-South region, we are going to block the Portharcourt International airport, block Calabar-Itu highway as well as other infrastructures.”
ASUU strike: Obey court ruling first – FG tells lecturers
The federal government has told the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to obey the National Industrial Court ruling and call off its seven-month strike.
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, gave the advice while fielding questions from journalists on the margins of the 77th United Nations General Assembly, UNGA, and the Official Launch of the Nigeria Integrated National Financing Framework Report (NIFF).
The industrial court on Wednesday, ordered ASUU to call off its ongoing nationwide strike, pending the determination of a suit filed by the Federal Government.
The federal government had dragged the lecturers to court in a bid to end the strike.
“I’m not ASUU but the maximum in law is that when there is a court judgment or ruling or order you must first obey and then we can apply for an appeal if you so desire or apply for stay that is stay of execution.
“So the maximum in law, jurisprudence and everything about the law, is that you obey the court’s ruling, judgment or order, no matter how bad. The qualifying thing is that no matter how bad and no matter how you disagree with it, you first obey. Like the military people say, obey before complain.
“So we expect them to get back to the classrooms but that doesn’t foreclose negotiations, the negotiations should be on as a matter of fact, it will be on officially and non officially.
“For example, the House of Representatives had invited us to come and brief them. And together, they are stakeholders. You heard Mr President said to the committee of Pro-Chancellors when they visited him, that he would do consultation as per the two request on putting an icing on the cake on the government offer to ASUU members and the issue of resettlement fund to cushion the effect of the “no work no pay” situation they found themselves in.
“So, President will look at it, the House of Reps are stakeholders, Ministers we are not only stakeholders, we are advisers to Mr. President by the provisions of the Constitution, Section 5 of the Constitution and 147, that appoints ministers one from each state of the Federation, and we hold regular meetings with him, so we are his chief advisers.
“So, we will interface with the House of Representatives and all of us collectively will advise Mr. President,” Ngige said.
EKSU Orders Students Back To Campus, Schedules Second-Semester Exams
The Management of Ekiti State University, Ado-Ekiti has directed the resumption of full academic activities with effect from tomorrow, Thursday, 22nd September, 2022.
Accordingly, round-off lectures for the second semester of the 2020/2021 academic session have been scheduled to hold between Thursday, 22nd September and Friday, 21st October 2022.
The Institution In a press statement issued by Head, Directorate of Information & Corporate Affairs, Bode Olofinmuagun and made available to DAILY POST stressed that the second-semester examination for the 2020/2021 academic session would hold between Monday, 24th October and Saturday, 5th November 2022.
Meanwhile, lectures for 100-level students admitted for the 2021/2022 academic session will commence on Monday, 3rd October 2022.
The statement asked students to note those duly registered in the university will have access to all the academic activities.
The Management of the university appealed to all the academic and non-teaching staff of the institution to give their maximum support so that both the 2020/2021 and 2021/2022 academic sessions would be completed without further delay.
”The Management wishes all our students a safe trip back to Ado-Ekiti” the statement said.
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