ASUU will end strike soon – Falana

THE counsel to the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) Femi Falana has said the union would end its nearly eight-month-old strike soon.

Falana stated this on Monday in an interview with Channels TV.

He expressed optimism that the lecturers would obey the Court of Appeal ruling upholding the National Industrial Court of Nigeria’s order, which directed the union to return to class pending the determination of the substantive suit.

Though Falana said convincing ASUU to call off the strike was the most difficult aspect of his practice, he added that he would give the lecturers reasons to obey the Appeal Court judgment once he gets the certified true copy of the ruling.

“The legal advice that I will give to my clients is confidential. But I can assure you the strike will soon be called off,” he said.

He added, “Advising clients to call off a strike is the most difficult aspect of my practice. On one occasion, Chief Gani Fawehinmi (SAN) and I spent six hours persuading Comrade Adams Oshiomhole and other NLC (Nigeria Labour Congress) members to call off a strike in compliance with a court order. Our advice to ASUU will be based on the court order and other relevant reports.

“I am reasonably confident that the consultations between the House and the Presidency will yield positive results in the interest of the striking lecturers and the students.”

The ICIR reports that ASUU embarked on strike on February 14 over unmet demands by the Federal government, resulting in the suspension of academic activities in most public universities in the country.

On Friday, the newspaper reported how the Appeal Court in Abuja ordered ASUU to obey the NIC’s ruling before filing its appeal against it.

The three-member panel of the Court of Appeal headed by Hamma Barka court dismissed a stay of execution on the NIC ruling, which the union had sought.

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But it gave the lecturers seven days to file their appeal, during which they must have resumed work.

The Federal government had dragged ASUU to court after the union refused to suspend its strike.

Dissatisfied with the NIC’s ruling, the union engaged Falana, a senior advocate, who filed 14 grounds of appeal, including a stay of execution of the ruling, on behalf of the lecturers on Friday, September 26.

President Muhammadu Buhari, the House of Representatives and other government functionaries and prominent citizens had waded into the crisis without a compromise between both parties.




     

     

    In what many Nigerians viewed as a ploy to break ASUU’s ranks, the Federal government registered a splinter group from the union, the Congress of Nigerian Universities Academics (CONUA), last week. The government urged the new group, which had said its members were ready for work, to resume at their various schools.

    But ASUU has vowed, through its lawyer, to sue the government for registering the group.

    ASUU’s demands

    Major reasons for ASUU downing tools have been the implementation of an agreement the Federal government signed with it in 2009. Besides funding for infrastructure and research in the universities, the agreement also included: 

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    • Deployment of the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS);
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    • Payment of outstanding arrears of Earned Academic Allowances (EAA);
    • Release of an agreed sum of money for revitalising public universities (federal and state);
    • Addressing proliferation and governance issues in state universities;
    • Settling promotion arrears;
    • Releasing withheld salaries of academics; and
    • Payment of outstanding third-party deductions.

     

    Marcus bears the light, and he beams it everywhere. He's a good governance and decent society advocate. He's The ICIR Reporter of the Year 2022 and has been the organisation's News Editor since September 2022. Contact him via email @ [email protected].

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