THE National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) has rejected an Industrial Court judgement which ordered the Academic Staff Union of University (ASUU) to suspend its ongoing strike immediately.
The ICIR had reported that the Industrial court led by Justice Polycarp Hamman on Wednesday ordered the striking university lecturers to call off the strike, stating that the strike was a breach of Section 18(1)(2) of the Trade Disputes Act, which prohibits the ongoing strike.
The order came amid protests by the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) against the lingering strike, which is now in its seventh month.
However, reacting to the judgement passed against the strike, the leadership of NANS described the judgment as a “Black Market”.
According to the statement released by the Union’s spokesperson, Giwa Yisa Temitope, the only solution to end the seven months old strikes was for the Nigerian government to fulfil the agreement between them and ASUU.
The statement read, “Our attention has been drawn to news of a court judgment mandating the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to call off its seven-month strike. As an association, we feel disturbed to read the news of the judgment because we believe that it betrays equity.
“Ordinarily, the Federal Government is not meant to have dragged ASUU to court. But, the fact that they had to drag ASUU to court is a signal that this government cannot handle crisis. And, we want to state categorically that the court cannot force members of ASUU back to lecture theatres.
“And, as it stands today, with that court judgment, we maintain that the court has not resolved the problem, and we reject the judgment in strong terms. The court could have said that the Federal Government should go and pay rather than say that lecturers who are on strike should go back to classrooms. We were expecting the court to have understood that lecturers are on a contract of personal service; hence, they cannot be compelled to render a service they don’t want to render.
“The only remedy to this strike action is for the Federal Government to accede to the demands of ASUU, which the government willingly entered into with them and properly fund education.”
ASUU had embarked on strike since February 14, 2022 due to the failure of FG to fulfil its signed Memorandum.
The ICIR also reported that ASUU’s strikes led to the shutting down of the nation’s public universities for 15 months between March 23, 2020, and August 12, 2022.
According to the report, with the ongoing strike, academic activities have now stalled in Nigerian public universities for at least four and a half years since the nation returned to democracy in May 1999.
The planned protest by the students to take place in Abuja, the nation’s capital, scheduled to hold on September 21, was thwarted by heavy security presence in the city.
Usman Mustapha is a solution journalist with International Centre for Investigative Reporting. You can easily reach him via: firstname.lastname@example.org. He tweets @UsmanMustapha_M