ASUU Strike: FG warns Union To Stop Misleading Members, Not to Disobey Court Orders

by Oluwamuyiwa Oyedele

The Federal Government recently warned that the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) should obey the court order of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria and stop misleading its members Union.

According to Nairametrics, this was disclosed by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, on Sunday in Abuja, saying the union should cease taking laws into its own hands by continuing the strike.

Recall that on September 21, 2022, the national industrial court of Nigeria (NICN) ordered the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to call off its ongoing nationwide strike.

According to Dr. Chris Ngige, “The union is dishonest and misleading its members and the general public, citing that it has filed an appeal as well as a stay of execution of the order of NICN on Sept. 2, though it has none of this.”

Rather, ASUU only filed an application for permission to appeal the order. Also attached to the application is a proposed notice of appeal, which it intends to file if the leave to appeal is granted.

“The application for a stay of execution as of this moment has not even been listed for hearing. Where is ASUU coming from then?

“It is therefore contemptuous, dishonest, and misleading for the union to tell its members that it has not only appealed the interlocutory injunction by the NICN, directing it to call off the strike and return to work, but that it also has a stay of execution,” he said.

He urged the union to end the strike and stop taking laws into its own hands, citing that “the Federal Government strongly frowns at this.”

He added that the act is in defiance of the interlocutory injunction by the NICN, which restrained the union from further action and also accused the leadership of the union of misinforming and misleading its members and warned of the consequences of contempt of court order.

On the renegotiation of salaries and wages of lecturers, he said he sympathises with ASUU just like other Nigerian workers.

“The economy is having a bad and hard time, biting hard on everybody. ASUU deserves no blame.”

The Briggs Committee was the product of the reconciliation of my ministry, which had to move to the ASUU’s direct employer, the Ministry of Education, for a Collective Bargaining Agreement, so we could agree on what is good to be paid to ASUU, subject to approval by the President.

“The President has a Presidential Committee on Salaries and Wages chaired by the Minister of Finance, with me as co-chair and other members—National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission, Budget Office, etc.

“Every MDA, whether drawing from the treasury or not, must pass through this committee on any issue concerning salaries for approval before transmission to the President. The report of the Briggs Committee did not, unfortunately, pass this route,” he added.

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