Chris Piwuna, the vice-president of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has confirmed that the union will be in court on Monday, September 12, 2022 to defend the suit filed against it by the federal government.
Piwuna made this known to journalists on Sunday, September 11 when he revealed that ASUU members who are also Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SAN) and professors of law, among others will be representing the union as the case instituted by the federal government at the National Industrial Court comes up for hearing on Monday.
“We will be in court tomorrow (Monday) morning. Earlier, we met with the minister of education but we are ready for anything. That is the nature of the struggle,” he said.
Ifeanyi Abada, the ASUU chapter chairman at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka in Enugu State confirmed this told BusinessDay the union has no choice but to face the federal government in court since that is what the government prefers.
“The federal government does not have the moral right to take ASUU to court without first meeting the demands. The federal government set the first committee and in the end, it could not meet the recommendations of the committee. Now it set another, and could not wait for the committee to come out with its recommendations.
“You cannot beat a child and tell him not to cry, that is wickedness, ASUU is willing to go back to the classroom, but the federal government is ready to the demands. We are waiting for them,” he said.
Similarly, in another media chat, Gbolahan Bolarin, the ASUU chairman at the Federal University of Minna in Niger State acknowledged that the union has received the suit notification and will be in court to square it out with the federal government.
“We are in receipt of the letter and we will be in court tomorrow (Monday). We are, however, shocked at the decision of the minister of labour, Chris Ngige,” he said.
Recall that the federal government had taken ASUU to the National Industrial Court over the union’s lingering strike, which began on February 14.
The lecturers are demanding among other things the federal government should jettison the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) in favour of the University Transparency Accountability System (UTAS) for the payment of salaries and allowances of its members, the release of the revitalisation fund for universities, the release of earned allowances for university lecturers, and the release of the white paper report of the visitation panels to universities and the renegotiation of the ASUU-FGN 2009 agreement.
However, after attempts by the federal government to resolve the impasse failed, the government decided to take ASUU to the industrial court.
Although there is an alleged report that the president is meant to address the issue but ASUU is set to have the union represented at the court on Monday by its members who are Senior Advocates and professors of law.