The Academic Staff Union of Universities has reacted to the ruling of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria, which, Wednesday, ordered the lecturers to resume academic activities.
In a WhatsApp chat with The PUNCH, late Wednesday, the Chairman of the Obafemi Awolowo University branch of ASUU, Dr. Adeola Egbedokun, described as a waste of time and scarce resources, the idea of using the court to adjudicate on the strike.
ASUU, led by its President, Professor Emmanuel Osodeke, had on February 14, embarked on nationwide strike action to press home the demands for improved welfare conditions for its members, adequate funding for universities, and the replacement of the government-introduced payment platform – Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System, with the University Transparency and Accountability Solution.
UTAS was designed by ASUU over complaints against the IPPIS of alleged poor standardisation and incompatibility with the university system.
Reacting to the Wednesday court judgment, Dr. Egbedokun said, “Well, the judgment and the resultant reaction from ASUU is an indication that the crises can only be resolved on the negotiation table. Using the court to adjudicate is to waste time and resources that are scarce.
He queried how practical it was for lecturers who had not been paid for seven months would return to classes on empty stomachs.
“Maybe someone should speak sense into the government that this process would lead nowhere. We have been starved for seven months, do you think this jungle justice would deter the members and rush back to class? No. This is a war and we will also deploy all in our arsenal to fight the insensitive and deaf government,” he told The PUNCH in the chat.
When asked what the next action of the union would be, Dr. Egbedokun said the union would appeal the judgment. “We are filing an appeal,” he said.
The PUNCH reported that students, through the National Association of Nigeria Students, embarked on a series of protests in the last week, including the blocking entrance to the International Airport Lagos on Monday, threatening to block other major roads, if the demands of ASUU were not met by the government.
However, NANS had on Wednesday, shelved its planned nationwide protests on the strike, citing the court ruling as a progressive way forward.