the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has said a court order and appeals from Nigerians forced them to end their eight-month strike.
Following a decision by the National Industrial Court against the union in a case brought to it by the Federal Government, a court of appeals ordered the striking lecturers to resume their classes. Days after the appeals court’s decision, ASUU halted the strike and directed its members to return to class.
The decision was not made because the issues raised by the lecturers were fully addressed, according to the union’s national president, Emmanuel Osodeke.
“As you have seen from our press release – although they were interventions by the Speaker (Femi Gbajabiamila) and others – the major reason we are resuming is that we are obeying the industrial court’s judgement. The issues have not been fully resolved, and no agreements signed,” he said during an interview on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics.
“We are resuming because we are a law-abiding organisation, and we don’t want to break the law. We are also hoping that the intervention of the Speaker, as promised by him, will resolve this problem within a concise time. So, the issues have not been resolved, but we would resume because of that court injunction.”
According to ASUU President Emmanuel Osodeke, we ended the strike because of a court order, pleas from students and parents, and the intervention of House Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila, not because the problems have been resolved.
Osodeke argued that “negotiation” is the best way to resolve trade disputes involving academics. He accused Chris Ngige, Minister of Labour and Employment, of initiating legal action.
“But one of the ministers, the Minister of Labour, believes that the best way is to force them to class. But because of the interest of the Nigerian people – the students, their parents, and the Speaker who is intervening – our members will teach”.
However, he asserted that if the Federal Government’s “no work, no pay” policy is upheld, the lecturers might not be motivated to return to class because “you cannot expect a hungry man” to be at his best.
In order to prevent this, Osodeke suggested that the government “should pay the salary” to the university professors who, in his words, must “catch up” with the backlog of classes missed due to the strike.