FG Drags ASUU To Court Over Seven Months Strike

The ongoing dispute between the Federal Government of Nigeria and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) that has kept many public universities shut for more than seven months will shift to the Industrial court next Monday.

ASUU began the strike in February to protest the alleged decay of infrastructure at the various institutions, as well as neglect of the welfare of its members.

A dependable source at the Federal Ministry of Labour last night said that the ministry’s Trade Dispute Department had filed a case before the Industrial Arbitration Court in Abuja and that the hearing would commence next Monday.

According to the source, “The federal government has filed a case at the Industrial Court challenging the continued strike by the university teachers. This is in conformity with Section 17 of the Trade Dispute Act.”

However, discussions between the federal government and ASUU finally hit the rocks last Tuesday after both sides met at the National University Commission’s office in Abuja.

The federal government said it would not sign any other agreement it could not implement.

Malam Adamu Adamu, Minister of Education, announced this during a meeting of Pro-Chancellors and Vice Chancellors of Federal Universities held at the NUC’s office.

Adamu said President Muhammadu Buhari had warned the government’s team involved in the negotiation with ASUU against signing an agreement that the government would not be able to fulfil.

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The minister said the government had put before the union a 23.5 per cent salary increase “for all categories of the workforce in federal universities, except for the professorial cadre which will enjoy a 35 per cent upward review. He said the government had also promised that N150 billion “shall be provided for in the 2023 Budget as funds for the revitalisation of federal universities, to be disbursed to the Institutions in the First Quarter of the year.”

Also, the government said N50 billion would be provided “for in the 2023 Budget for the payment of outstanding arrears of earned academic allowances, to be paid in the first quarter of the year.”

However, ASUU and three other university unions have refused the recommendation, explaining it as “inadequate to meet their respective demands needed to tackle the challenges confronting the university system.”