The President Muhammadu Buhari-led government in a letter dated September 8, 2022 has insisted that only an industrial court action against the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) will end the over six months strike.
The letter containing the charges was sent to the court on September 9, 2022.
Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, in a suit he filed against the university teachers union at the Abuja industrial court said ASUU has been adamant despite the fact that the body had recognised the damage which the prolonged action has on the country and its socio-political economy.
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ASUU had, on February 14 embarked on a warning strike to demand, among other things, the implementation of the 2009 renegotiated agreement. The bout of extended warning strikes was to evolve into a full blown industrial action in recent weeks.
Many have blamed Minister Ngige and his Education counterpart Adamu Adamu over the manner the federal government handled the series of deadlocked meetings that led up to government’s declaration of ‘‘no work no pay’’ and ASUU’s insistence on payment of arrears before resumption of duties.
Meanwhile, ASUU President and lead negotiator, Professor Emmanuel Osodeke, had said there would be no further negotiation or agreement with the Buhari administration until a new government comes to power on May 29, 2023.
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On its part, the federal government clearly stated that it would not sign any further agreement that cannot be fulfilled. Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu backed this up by stating that the President, Muhammadu Buhari had clearly warned them not to sign an agreement that can not be met
The situation had escalated last Tuesday when both parties met at the National University Commission (NUC) office in Abuja.
Ngige cited Section 17 of the Trade Dispute Act CAP T8, Laws of the Federation, Nigeria as the basis for his suit.
‘‘In view of the fact that ASUU members have been on strike since February 14, 2022 and have refused to call off the action despite apprehension of same. It would be appreciated if this dispute is given an accelerated hearing in order to bring this dispute to an end,’’ said Ngige.
Parties in the suit at the industrial court are: President of ASUU, Minister of Education, Minister of Justice and the Minister of Labour and Employment. The parties in the suit will appear in court on Monday, September 12, 2022.