THE Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) today filed an appeal challenging Wednesday’s ruling of the National Industrial Court ordering the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to suspend its seven-month-old strike and return to work.
The appeal threatens any hope that the nation’s public universities grounded by the strike could be reopened soon.
Prominent human rights lawyer, Femi Falana, led ASUU’s counsels who filed the 14 grounds of appeal.
ASUU is seeking two reliefs, namely leave to file the appeal pursuant to Section 243 of the Nigerian constitution that requires the party to seek a leave of court to appeal the judgment or ruling of the National Industrial Court (NIC), and a stay of execution of the orders of the court, pending the hearing and determination of the appeal.
The National Industrial Court had on Wednesday, September 21 ordered ASUU to call off the strike it began on February 14 over unmet demands by the Federal Government.
In his ruling, Justice Polycarp Hamman, held that the verdict was in the interest of students who had been forced home for over seven months because of the strike.
“The balance of convenience tilts in favour of the applicant. I hold that this application is meritorious and this application is granted,” Hamman had ruled.
ASUU and the Federal Government have failed to reach a truce as the National Association of Nigerian Students have resolved to picket major airports and other notable public institutions in the country over the impasse.
On Monday, NANS shut down the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos.
The siege on the Lagos Airport Road, despite heavy rain, caused heavy gridlock in parts of the state and forced many passengers to trek long distances to catch their flights.
On Wednesday, the Federal Government deployed military tanks and gun-wielding security forces to major streets in the nation’s capital to prevent the protest NANS had scheduled for the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.
The ICIR reports that ASUU has vowed it would accept nothing but a comprehensive infrastructural lift in the universities, and improved funding for research and welfare for its members.
The demands are part of the 2009 agreement it had with the Federal Government, which it said the government must implement.
The ICIR had reported how ASUU had gone on strike for over 600 days under President Buhari, the longest under any leader in Nigeria.
Major reasons for ASUU downing tools have been the implementation of an agreement the Federal Government signed with it in 2009, funding for infrastructure and research in the universities, among other demands, namely:
- 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.