… ASUU Sues FG Over CONUA, NAMDA Registration
The newly-registered Congress of Nigerian Universities Academics has ruled out the use of industrial action to press for demands.
This is just as the rival group of the Academic Staff Union of Universities said it has a presence in no fewer than 17 universities in the country, adding that it would work towards the registration of new members.
The union’s National Coordinator, Dr Niyi Sunmonu made this known in an interview with The PUNCH in Abuja on Tuesday shortly after the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, had in Abuja announced the registration of two additional university-based unions –CONUA and the National Association of Medical and Dental Academics.
Sunmonu said, “As of the last count, even before this registration, we have 17 branches nationwide. It includes state and federal universities. Of course, numerical strength varies from university to university. Now that we have been given legal recognition by the government, we are hopeful that more branches will come on board and more members will come on board.
“Since the time we started, we said we were going to look at issues from a different perspective, especially concerning using strike action to drive home our demands. There are issues everywhere, and universities are not immune to issues within the country.
“We are not saying there are no issues in the universities but we believe that those issues can be approached in a very different manner without using the instrument of a strike. Strike action has been greatly overused, and it has been overused to the extent that the damage it has done to the system is more than good. For us, strike action is out.
“We need to organise our branches and be constructive in our engagement with government, constructive in the sense that, whether we like it or not, discussions remain the most potent weapon when you have industrial issues but that discussion needs to take place under what conditions? We want to create an atmosphere that will be a win-win for lecturers, students, parents, the government, and all stakeholders.”
Meanwhile, the Academic Staff Union of Universities is set to sue the Federal Government over the registration of the Congress of Nigerian Universities Academics and the National Association of Medical and Dental Academics.
ASUU’s lawyer, Femi Falana, said this on Channels Television, on Thursday. The minister of labour and employment, Chris Ngige, had on Tuesday presented certificates of registration to CONUA and NAMDA.
Ngige, who spoke while presenting the certificate of registration to the two unions, explained that the two bodies will exist along side ASUU. The PUNCH reports that ASUU had been on strike since February 14, 2022, as lecturers of public universities protest unpaid allowances and demand better welfare package from the Federal Government.
Speaking with Channels Television, the lead counsel to ASUU, Falana noted that the union would sue the Federal Government over the registration of the two unions. “ASUU is going to court. It is going to be the NIC,” Falana said. The PUNCH reports that a former chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Professor Attahiru Jega, in an interview with Arise Television also accused Ngige of complicating matters.
“He took the matter to the industrial court and the decision has been appealed by ASUU and now, he has registered two unions while trying to proscribe ASUU. If this is allowed by this government, I think it is a recipe for disaster and it may really create more problems than it can solve on this matter of strike action,” Jega had said.