The Academic Staff Union of Universities on Wednesday said it will appeal the ruling of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria, which ordered the union to call off its ongoing nationwide strike and resume work.
The PUNCH reports that ASUU has been on strike since February 14 to press home demands for improved funding for universities and a review of salaries for lecturers, among other issues.
Several meetings between ASUU and the Federal Government have ended in a deadlock.
Consequently, the Federal Government went to court to challenge the strike.
The government through its counsel, James Igwe prayed the court for an interlocutory injunction restraining ASUU from taking further steps as regards the strike, pending the determination of the substantive suit.
Justice Polycarp Hamman held that the application was meritorious and deserved to be granted by the court.
“The bal[/b]ance of convenience tilts in favour of the applicant.
“I hold that this application is meritorious and this application is granted,” Justice Hamman ruled.
[b]Order for VCs
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, said the government would order vice-chancellors to re-open universities based on the court order.
“The government would order the vice-chancellors to reopen the universities in compliance with the order of the court,” he said in a statement.
The minister added that the court ruling does not preclude the government from going on with further negotiation and consultations.
No going back
Speaking to The PUNCH on Wednesday, National President, ASUU, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, said the union will appeal the ruling, adding that the Federal government had denied Nigerian children their rights.
Osodeke said, “Our lawyer is filing an appeal and stay of execution of the ruling. Our members should remain calm and strong. A people united can never be defeated.
“If the FG believes that this is the best way to solve the problem, good for them. They have denied Nigerian children their rights. Nigeria has a country is going to be punished for what the FG has just done,” he said.
“You can be sure that thousands of my colleagues will leave this country. The last time we had this kind of treatment was during the military era.”
APC lauds order
The National Vice Chairman, North-West of the All Progressives Congress, Salihu Lukman, on Wednesday said the court judgment vindicated the party.
Lukman, in a statement, said, “The NIC judgment today is a vindication of the position I expressed last year when NLC National leadership organised a so-called one-week warning strike against Kaduna State government and resident doctors at the same time.
“Sadly, here we are, the same judgment that would have been delivered before the strike commenced on February 14 is only obtained about seven months into the strike. However, it’s better late than never.”
EKSU orders resumption
Meanwhile, Ekiti State University, Ado-Ekiti has directed that full academic activities should resume on campus with effect from Thursday (today).
The school, according to a statement by the Head, EKSU Directorate of Information, Bode Olofinmuagun, titled, “Resumption of academic activities in EKSU”, appealed to the academic and non-teaching staff members “to give their maximum support so that both the 2020/2021 and 2021/2022 academic sessions would be completed without further delay.”