Indications emerged Wednesday that the Federal Government may withdraw the registration of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, as a trade union following its alleged failure to submit its audited reports as required by law in the past five years.
Already, the Registrar of Trade Unions has reportedly written a query to the union on why its certificate of registration should not be withdrawn for running foul of the law.
Speaking while receiving members of the Nigerian Association of Medical and Dental Academics, NAMDA, who had visited him to express their solidarity with the Federal Government on the ASUU imbroglio, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige acknowledged receiving the group’s request for registration.
The Minister lamented that the university-based unions have been in the habit of not obeying the law that sets them up with regard to the submission of their yearly audited account.
He said that he was constrained to allow the hammer of the law to descend on ASUU because of the prolonged strike as any action taken by the government would be wrongly interpreted.
He maintained that going by the provisions of the law, the leadership of the university-based unions that collect check-off dues from their members are mandated to render an account of how the money is spent.
“ASUU has not responded to the relevant section of Trade Union Creation for submission of audited accounts. How do they utilise their money? The money they collect as check-off dues should be accounted for. So, the Trade Union Act says that in June of any given year, unions should produce an audited account at the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment.
“The Registrar of Trade Unions has written them to show cause why we should not withdraw their certificate of registration. They have not responded to the letter. Rather, I learned that they came last Friday with bundles of papers and said they are their audited account.
“Of course, he rightly told them that ‘I didn’t ask you for your audited accounts anymore. I need you to respond to my query on why disciplinary action should not be taken against you. If disciplinary action is taken against ASUU now, they will say that it is because we are in court. They will say that we are being victimised because we are on strike. We are being punished. Whereas, they have been running foul of the law.
“Five good years, they have not tendered an audited account of their activities, at least, for the benefit of their members,” he said.