The Federal Government on Monday withdrew its circular which ordered vice-chancellors to reopen universities for the resumption amid the ongoing strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
KanyiDaily recalls that ASUU had embarked on a warning strike since February 14, 2022, over the failure of the federal government to meet its demands.
Amid the strike, the government and the union have held a series of meetings, but both sides have reached no agreement on ending the seven-month-old strike.
Consequently, the federal government filed an application for an interlocutory injunction at the national industrial court, seeking an order to restrain the ASUU from further continuing with the ongoing nationwide strike.
Ruling on the matter on September 21, Justice Polycarp Hamman granted the government’s application and ordered ASUU to resume work pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit.
But ASUU responded by filing an appeal seeking to set aside the court’s judgment and to stay execution of the order pending the hearing and determination of the interlocutory Appeal.
NUC Withdraw Resumption Order Amid ASUU Strike
On Monday, September 26, the FG, through the National Universities Commission (NUC), directed the management of all federal universities to comply with the court order directing ASUU members to return to classrooms pending the determination of the substantive matter before it.
The government had asked the pro chancellors and vice-chancellors to ensure that the striking lecturers resume and commence lectures immediately.
Hours after the directive, another circular tagged NUC/ES/138/Vol.64/136, which was signed by the NUC Director of Finance and Account, Sam Onazi, withdrew the first order without giving reasons.
The letter titled, “Withdrawal of circular NUC/ES/138/Vol.64/135 dated September 23, 2022,” partly read, “I have been directed to withdraw the National Universities Commission Circular Ref: NUC/ES/138/Vol.64/135, dated September 23, 2022, on the above subject.
“Consequently, the said circular stands withdrawn. All pro-chancellors and chairmen of governing councils, as well as vice-chancellors of federal universities, are to take note. Further development and information would be communicated to all relevant stakeholders.”
Meanwhile, the Committee of Vice-Chancellors of Nigerian Universities (CVCNU) has said it did not receive any official information on the call for resumption by the NUC or any government ministry.
During an interview with PUNCH, the CVCNU Chairman, Prof. Samuel Edoumiekumo, said the use of force on the lecturers would not produce any fruitful outcome.
Edoumiekumo said, “Force will not lead to anything meaningful. It will not help. I’m still suggesting that all stakeholders should meet and resolve this issue amicably. If you bring them to school, students will just be roaming up and down, and you will cause more crises.”
Similarly, the ASUU National President, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, maintained that members had announced that they were on strike, saying the government had yet to meet their demands.
He said, “We have announced that we are on strike. If they want to reopen, they should reopen. They have taken us to court, and we have also appealed the judgment. Ask them if they have signed the agreements we had with them. Have they implemented our demands?”
KanyiDaily recalls that ASUU had expressed readiness to suspend its ongoing seven-month-old strike if the federal government accepts its “minimum” demands.