Honour Agreement With ASUU, Court Action Unnecessary, CAPPA Tells FG

A Civil Society Organisation, Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa, CAPPA, has challenged the Federal Government to honour its agreement with the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, and for them to call off the over seven-month-old strike.

This was contained in a statement signed by the Executive Director, CAPPA, Akinbode Oluwafemi, where, the statement described Federal Government’s legal action as frivolous, intemperate and ill-thought.

According to the statement, instead of government grandstanding and compelling university lecturers to work under terrible conditions should take responsibility and do the needful as demanded by the lecturers in the interest of students and national Development.

The statement reads in part, “CAPPA’s position is in reaction to the Federal Government’s decision to file a case pursuant to Section 17 of the Trade Dispute Act before the Industrial Arbitration Court in Abuja. The government is challenging the continued strike by ASUU which is now seven months.

“It is the consistent failure of the federal government to live up to its obligations and agreements to bolster public education and university systems in Nigeria that has led to the indefinite closure of universities. The government must own up to this fact instead of grandstanding to compel university lecturers to work under terrible conditions.

“If the Federal government succeeds in its quest to force lecturers back to the classrooms, it would recourse to the victimization of lecturers and other acts of impunity reminiscent of the military era.

“Unfortunately, such a path will only bring short relief. Within a very short time, our public universities will be back to the same situation and another round of strikes.

“The Federal Government is to honour its agreements with the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) so that public universities can be reopened instead of engaging in frivolous exercises, the latest being its recourse to the National Industrial Court to arm-twist striking University lecturers.”

Expressing concern over the debacle between Federal Government and ASUU, CAPPA pointed out that Federal Government’s recent measures can easily encourage “a loss of faith in the country thereby worsening the acute brain drain challenge Nigeria is facing, with more lecturers finding their way out of the country in search of greener pastures.”

The statement also quoted the Executive Director of CAPPA, Akinbode Oluwafemi who said, “Taking the striking lecturers to court is a frivolous, intemperate and an ill-thought step that has the potential to further worsen the state of industrial relations in the education sector while keeping the gates of public universities closed for as long as possible.”

Oluwafemi said that the development is not only worrisome but also reveals the mindset of those in charge of Nigeria’s destiny who have opted to use the court to arm-twist the lecturers in their legitimate cause out of all options available to the government.

According to him, the path forward is for the federal government to stop going round in circles and instead go back to the agreements it had with the lecturers and honour them to the letter. We anticipate that the industrial court will compel the government to toe this path in the interest of the education sector, the well-being of lecturers and the interest of students who are home now wasting away.

Vanguard

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