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ASUU strike: APC chief Lukman applauds court directives to lecturers to return to class

By Adamu Abuh, Abuja
21 September 2022   |   4:58 pm
The National Vice Chairman North West of the ruling All progressive congress (APC), Dr Salihu Lukman has thrown his weight behind the decision by the National Industrial Court (NIC) which directed striking members of the Academic staff union of universities (ASUU) to return to their classes.

….urges diversion of lecturers salaries to aggrieved students as scholarship

The National Vice Chairman North West of the ruling All progressive congress (APC), Dr Salihu Lukman has thrown his weight behind the decision by the National Industrial Court (NIC) which directed striking members of the Academic staff union of universities (ASUU) to return to their classes.

Reacting to the development, he said it was incumbent on the lecturers to sacrifice their seven months’ salaries to their students who were at the receiving end of the strike action.

The Kaduna-born politician remarked that the NIC verdict was a vindication of his position last year when Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) leadership organised a one-week warning strike against the Kaduna State government.

Lukman maintained that the verdict serves as a wake-up call on the Ministry of Labour and Productivity to avert a reoccurrence of the ASUU strike in line with laid down laws and regulations.

He noted: “Imagine that processes of mediation, conciliation and compulsory adjudication by Ministry of Labour as provided under the Trade Dispute Act immediately ASUU served notice of strike. Certainly, a judgement by either Industrial Arbitration Panel (IAP) or NIC would have been obtained before the commencement of the strike.

“Sadly, here we are, the same judgement that would have been delivered before the strike commences on February 14 is only obtained about seven months into the strike.

“Better late than never. However, the demand must be made clearly, never again should the Ministry of Labour abdicate from its responsibility of arresting strikes based on the ability to activate processes of mediation, conciliation and compulsory adjudication.

“The Ministry of Labour must be reformed to discharge these functions effectively and efficiently. Democracy is about to rule of law. At all times, laws must be activated to regulate the conduct of citizens and government officials.

“Every step must be taken to enforce the judgement of Justice Polycap Hamman. The last seven months have been traumatic for parents and innocent students. Everything must be done to bring to an immediate end the sufferings and hardships being inflicted by the seven months strike.

“The debate about whether the government should pay ASUU members for the seven months they are on strike should be treated based on the provisions of their employment contract.

“Anything to the contrary will amount to encouraging ASUU, and by extension other unions to engage in processes of collective bargaining based on blackmail antics and show of crude power. This must be discouraged.

“If the government will at all consider any payment, it should be to compute what ASUU members could have earned during the period and pay it to students as scholarship or some sort of compensation for the ‘irreparable damages to their careers’ occasioned by the strike.

“In fact, ASUU members should voluntarily and willingly accept this as part of the discharge of their community service function.”

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