The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) on wednesday has rejected an Industrial Court judgement which ordered Academic Staff Union of University (ASUU) to suspend its ongoing strike immediately.
DAILY GIST reported that the National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NICN) in Abuja had ordered ASUU to immediately suspend the ongoing industrial action.
Justice Polycarp Hamman held that the strike was a breach of the Section 18(1)(2) of the Trade Disputes Act, which prohibits their action.
He said the use of “shall” in the Act connotes mandatory provision not to embark on the strike pending the determination of the main suit before the court.
The Judge further held that the industrial action is detrimental to public university students who cannot afford to attend private tertiary institutions.
The judge noted that the strike has caused irreparable damage to the careers of many students in Nigeria.
He said it was obvious that the legal adviser of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment has access to legal issues relating to the trade dispute.
He also dismissed the argument of Femi Falana, counsel to ASUU, that the interlocutory injunction should be dismissed and the court should instead grant an accelerated hearing for the referral earlier filed by Mr Ngige.
He agreed that the FG who is the owners of federal universities stands to loose more if the application is not granted.
“Students have been out of school for 7 months in Nigeria where age is a factor in employment,” he said.
The judge added that the National Youth Service Corps even bars graduates aged 30 for going for youth service.
“I therefore hold that the balance of convenience tilts in favor of granting the application,” the judge said.
The judge said that the prolonged strike inflicts irreparable damage on Nigerian students and they have been at home since February 14, 2022.
Subsequently, the court suspended the ASUU strike citing its discretionary powers over trade union disputes.
But reacting in a statement made available to DAILY GIST on wednesday, the National Public Relations Officer of NANS, Giwa Yisa Temitope, described the ruling as a “black market judgment.”
Temitope said the ruling betrayed equity because the Federal Government ought not to drag the academic union before the court an initio.
According to him, the only remedy to this strike action is for the Federal Government to accede to the demands of ASUU which the government willingly entered into with them and properly fund education.
The statement reads “Our attention has been drawn to a news of a court judgment mandating the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to call of its 7 month strike. As an association, we feel disturbed to read the news of the judgment because we believe that it betrays equity.
“Ordinarily, the Federal Government is not meant to have dragged ASUU to court. But, the fact that they had to drag ASUU to court is a signal that this government cannot handle crisis. And, we want to state categorically that the court cannot force members of ASUU back to lecture theatres.
“And, as it stands today, with that court judgment, we maintain that the court has not resolved the problem and we reject the judgment in strong terms. The court could have said that the Federal Government should go and pay rather than say that lecturers who are on strike should go back to classrooms. We were expecting the court to have understood that lecturers are on contract of personal service hence, they cannot be compelled to render a service they don’t want to render.
“The only remedy to this strike action is for the Federal Government to accede to the demands of ASUU which the government willingly entered into with them and properly fund education.”