FG will sue ASUU for contempt of court if strike continues – Ngige

THE Federal government has threatened to sue the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) if its members refuse to return to work as directed by the Court of Appeal.

Minister of Labour and Employment Chris Ngige issued the threat on Friday night while featuring on Channels TV.

Ngige said the government expected the union to obey the order while the universities’ vice-chancellors must open their institutions to enable the lecturers work.

He said, “The court says ASUU must obey today. I have asked labour controllers in the 36 states and the zones to reach out to the universities to, number one, see if the vice-chancellors have opened the gates because that is one of the imports of the judgment of the Industrial Court.

“You must open the gates, you must open the classrooms and see whether those workers, those teachers reported today, tomorrow Friday and Saturday. My labour controllers will write me a report.”

According to the minister, the Federal Ministry of Education, through the National Universities Commission (NUC), would also monitor ASUU’s compliance with the ruling. 

He said the union only had the right to appeal the National Industrial Court’s (NIC) ruling ordering it to resume work after its members had returned next Tuesday, October 11.

Ngige said the NIC’s Act made a provision for charging anyone that disobeyed its ruling for contempt of court.

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

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

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

The Federal government had dragged ASUU to court after the union refused to suspend the strike it declared on February 14 over unmet demands.

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

FG/ASUU turned down out-of-court settlement offer before latest ruling

The Appeal Court had on Wednesday, October 5, advised both parties to reach an out-of-court settlement on the issue within 24 hours.

But counsel to the federal government, James Igwe, and Falana, returned to the court on Thursday and admitted they could not amicably resolve the crisis and were ready for the appeal.

We’re studying judgment – ASUU

Shortly after the ruling on Friday by the Appeal Court, ASUU, through its president, Emmanuel Osodeke, said the lecturers were studying the judgment.

The ICIR reports that it is unclear what step the union will take as the strike heads into its eighth month.

How FG registered ASUU’s rival at the peak of the faceoff






     

     

    In what many Nigerians viewed as a ploy to break ASUU’s ranks, the Federal Government registered a splinter group from ASUU, the Congress of Nigerian Universities Academics (ASUU). 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: 

    • Deployment of the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS);
    • 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].

    Join the ICIR WhatsApp channel for in-depth reports on the economy, politics and governance, and investigative reports.

    Support the ICIR

    We invite you to support us to continue the work we do.

    Your support will strengthen journalism in Nigeria and help sustain our democracy.

    If you or someone you know has a lead, tip or personal experience about this report, our WhatsApp line is open and confidential for a conversation

    LEAVE A REPLY

    Please enter your comment!
    Please enter your name here


    Support the ICIR

    We need your support to produce excellent journalism at all times.

    - Advertisement

    Recent

    - Advertisement