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Thursday, September 29, 2022

JUST IN: ASUU to appeal court order directing lecturers to suspend lingering strike

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has said it will appeal a court ruling which directed the union to call off its nationwide strike.

Recall, that the ongoing ASUU strike which began Febuary 14, 2022, has grounded academic activities in public varsities for over seven months.

The union is demanding the release of revitalisation funds for universities, renegotiation of the 2009 FGN/ASUU agreement, release of earned allowances for university lecturers, and deployment of the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS).

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The government had claimed to have addressed most of the union’s demands including the release of N50b for the payment of earned allowances for academic and non-academic and non-academic staff of universities but said the that the union will not be paid the arrears of the strike period.

ASUU has also insisted on not calling off the lingering strike until the arrears are settled.

Following instance of ASUU not to resume, the federal government, through the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige dragged the striking university lecturers before the National Industrial Court (NIC).

But delivering a ruling on the interlocutory injunction filed by the government, on Wednesday, September 21, 2022, Justice Polycarp Hamman restrained ASUU from continuing with the industrial action pending the determination of the suit.

According to the judge, the strike is detrimental to public university students who cannot afford to attend private tertiary institutions.

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He added that the Trade Dispute Act mandates workers not to embark on strike once an issue has been referred to the industrial court.

Justice Hamman upheld the application of the government, saying it was meritorious and granted, but refused to fine the government as demanded by ASUU.

Justice Polycap who is a vacation judge ordered that the case filed be returned to the president of the Industrial Court for reassignment to another judge.

Speaking with newsmen hours after the ruling of the court, Femi Falana, who is the counsel to the union said the ruling will be challenged at the court of appeal.

Meanwhile, the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) has criticised the ruling, describing it as a betrayal of equity.

Giwa Temitope, NANS national public relations officer, said the court’s decision does not offer a permanent solution to the dispute and that lecturers cannot be forced to resume their duties.

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