The Federal Government of Nigeria has advised the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, to respect the interlocutory injunction by the National Industrial Court NICN and resume duty in the classrooms.
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, gave the appeal in a statement issued on Sunday by Olajide Oshundun, Deputy Director of Press and Public Relations of the ministry.
Ngige said the new ASUU directive, urging its members to continue with strike action, is unwarranted lawlessness.
The minister noted that “the Federal Government strongly frowns at this” accused ASUU leadership of misinforming and misleading its members, and warned of consequences of contempt of court order.
He said, “The union is dishonest and misleading its members and the general public, that it has filed an appeal as well has a stay of execution of the order of National Industrial Court on September 21, 2022, though it has none of this.
“Rather, ASUU only filed an application for a permission to appeal the order. It also attached to the application, 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 then is ASUU coming from?
“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 National Industrial Court, directing it to call off strike and return to work, but that it also has a stay of execution.”
According to the statement, Ngige denied reports that he walked out of the meeting between the House of Representatives and ASUU last Thursday, 29th September 2022.
The minister explained that he left the meeting to attend to other pressing matters with the permission of the Speaker, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila after making his presentation.
It stated that the Speaker earlier gave the Secretary to the Government of the Federation such permission.
“On renegotiation of salaries and wages of lecturers, I sympathize with ASUU just like other Nigerian workers. The economy is bad and hard time, biting hard on everybody. ASUU deserves no blame. They know that many times during reconciliation, I said that left to me, this is what lecturers will get. I know the enormity of the work they do and have brothers who are also lecturers.
“The Briggs Committee was the product of reconciliation of my ministry,which had to move to the ASUU’s direct employers, Ministry of Education for a Collective Bargaining Agreement, so we can arrive 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 myself 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.”