Government Takes Striking Nigerian Lecturers to Court 

After many failed dialogue over the prolonged strike of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), the body for university lecturers in Nigeria, the Nigerian government has sought the intervention of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria.

In a press statement by the Ministry of Labour and Employment, it said the suit, dated September 8 was addressed to the Registrar of the court. It also had the signature of the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige.

“The Federal Government has asked the NICN to inquire into the legality or otherwise of the ongoing prolonged strike by ASUU leadership and members. 

“It asked the court to interpret in its entirety the provisions of Section 18 LFN 2004, especially as it applies to the cessation of strike once a trade dispute is apprehended by the Minister of Labour and Employment and conciliation is ongoing. 

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“Determine whether ASUU members are entitled to emoluments or ‘strike pay’ during their period of strike, which commenced on February 14, 2022, more so in view of the national law as provided in Section 43 of the TDA and the International Labour Principles on the right to strike as well as the decisions of the ILO Committee on Freedom of Association on the subject. 

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“Determine whether ASUU has the right to embark on strike over disputes as is the case in this instance by compelling the Federal Government to employ its own University Transparency Accountability Solution (UTAS) in the payment of the wages of its members as against the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) universally used by the Federal Government in the nation for payment of wages of all its employees in the Federal Government Public Service of which university workers, including ASUU members, are part of or even where the government, via NITDA, subjected ASUU and their counterpart, Universities Peculiar Personnel Payroll Systems (UPPPS) software to integrity test (vulnerability and stress test) and they failed,” the statement by the Ministry read.

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It also asked the court to order ASUU members to resume work. Nigerian lecturers have been on an industrial action since February 14 and are almost seven months into the strike with no sight of an end anywhere near. 

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