The Academic Staff Union of Universities has responded to the National Industrial Court of Nigeria’s ruling, which ordered lecturers to resume academic activities on Wednesday.
Dr. Adeola Egbedokun, Chairman of the Obafemi Awolowo University branch of ASUU, described the idea of using the court to adjudicate on the strike as a waste of time and scarce resources in a WhatsApp chat late Wednesday.
ASUU, led by its President, Professor Emmanuel Osodeke, went on strike on February 14 to press 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.
“Perhaps someone should speak up to the government and tell them that this process is pointless.” We have been starved for seven months, do you think this jungle justice would deter the members and have them 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 stated 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.
It was 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.