Deji Adebayo, Abuja
The National Industrial Court sitting in Abuja has ordered the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), to call off the over 6-months old Strike.
Delivering a ruling on the interlocutory injunction filed by the Federal government, Justice Polycarp Hamman restrained ASUU from continuing with the industrial action pending the determination of the suit.
Justice Hamman who is on a vacation judge ordered that the case filed should be returned to the president of the Industrial Court for reassignment to another judge.
The Judge further held that the industrial action is detrimental to public university students who cannot afford to attend private tertiary institutions.
He said the Trade Dispute Act mandates workers not to embark on strike once an issue has been referred to the industrial court.
Justice Hamman also upheld the application of the Federal Government saying it was meritorious and granted.
The court therefore restrained “ASUU, whether by themselves, members, agents, privies or howsoever called, from taking further steps and doing any act in continuance of the strike action pending the hearing and determination of the suit filed.”
The judge refused to fine the federal government as demanded by ASUU.
This order comes a few hours after the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) threatened not to allow any political campaign hold across the country till students of public universities return to classrooms.
Chairman, NANS National Taskforce, Ojo Olumide, announced this at a press conference in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, on Wednesday, some days to September 28, the official date for candidates to kick-off campaign as announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission.
“Our blocking of access to public roads and ports is just a warning. If the government fails to conclude all the negotiation and agreement with ASUU within the frame of two weeks, they will witness more protests and rallies all over the country, they will also witness the annoyance, anger and frustration of Nigerians Students who have been at home for the past seven months.
“As we promise them that we will not allow any political campaign to hold across the country until we are back to class. This government has pushed so many Nigerians students into depression. We say enough is enough; we can no longer bear the brunt from this avoidable crisis in our nation public ivory towers again,” he said.
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has been on strike since February 14, 2022 as talks between the Federal Government and lecturers of public universities have not yielded a comprise upon which students can return to class.
In a bid to get the lecturers back to the citadels of learning, the Federal Government dragged the ASUU to the National Industrial Court.
In a statement, the Head of Press and Public Relations at the Ministry of Labour and Employment, Olajide Oshundun, said the Federal Government took the decision after dialogue between it and ASUU failed.
According to him, the government wants the National Industrial Court to order ASUU members to resume work, while the issues in dispute are being addressed by the court.
The referral instrument addressed to the Registrar of Industrial Court was dated September 8, 2022, and signed by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige.
In a reaction to the FG’s legal action, ASUU cautioned the Federal Government against forcing striking members of the union back to class via court order.
According to the president of the union, Professor Emmanuel Osodeke, one can only wonder what manner of teaching the academic staff will dish out after they have been forced back to the classrooms.