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[JUST IN] FG To VCs: Reopen Universities, Commence Lectures Immediately

FG Orders VCs To Reopen Varsities, Commence Lectures

The Federal Government (FG) on Monday, ordered Vice-Chancellors to re-open universities and allow students resume lectures.

The order was conveyed through the National Universities Commission (NUC).

According to Punch, this was contained in a letter signed by the Director, Finance and Accounts of the NUC, Sam Onazi, on behalf of the Executive Secretary of the commission, Professor Abubakar Rasheed.

The letter was addresed to all vice-chancellors; Pro-Chancellors and chairmen of governing councils of federal universities.

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“Ensure that ASUU members immediately resume/commence lectures; Restore the daily activities and routines of the various University campuses”, the letter partly reads.

Recall that Kanyi Daily had reported that last week Wednesday, the national industrial court of Nigeria ordered the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to call off its ongoing nationwide strike.

The union went on strike since February 14 to demand improved funding for universities, review of salaries for lectures and other issues.

There have not been any head way to resolve the industrial action as several meetings between ASUU and the Federal Government have all ended in deadlock.

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As a result of this, the government took the union to court to challenge its action.

Counsel to the government, James Igwe, prayed the court for an interlocutory injunction restraining ASUU from taking further steps as regards the strike, pending the determination of the substantive suit.

Igwe on last Wednesday, prayed the court to order the striking varsity lecturers to in the interim, return to work, pending the determination of the substantive suit before the court.

He maintained that the matter was not only urgent, but of a great national interest as millions of students have been at home for over seven months.

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“Sections 47 of the Trade Dispute Act, TDA, gives your lordship the power to direct that no worker should continue to embark on strike pending when the applications are heard and determined,” Igwe argued.

Igwe said there was need for the matter to be expeditiously determined to enable university students to return to school, adding that failure to call off the strike would cause irreparable damage to not only the students but also to the nation.

According to him, since the dispute between FG and lectures was already before the court for adjudication, it would be proper and in the interest of justice for the strike to be suspended.

In his ruling, Justice Hamman held that the application was meritorious and deserved to be granted by the court.

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The court dismissed the objection raised by ASUU through its lawyer, Femi Falana.

The court also held that the strike action was detrimental to public university students that cannot afford to attend private tertiary institutions.

“The balance of convenience tilts in favour of the applicant.

“I hold that this application is meritorious and this application is granted”, Justice Hamman ruled.

The court, thereafter, issued an order, restraining ASUU, “whether by themselves, members, agents, privies or howsoever called, from taking further steps and doing any act in continuance of the strike action, pending the hearing and determination of the suit filed.”

ASUU has since, filed an appeal against the order.

Last week, the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) protested at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport in Lagos over the prolonged strike action.

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