Following the ruling by the Appeal Court, ordering the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, to suspend its 8-month-old strike with immediate effect, the union would be meeting on Sunday (today).
Recall that the Appeal Court on Friday ordered the striking lecturers to obey the earlier judgement by the National Industrial Court which ruled that the union must suspend its prolonged industrial action while negotiations continue.
You will recall that ASUU on February 14, this year, shut down public universities across the country while demanding for the full implementation of earlier agreements between it and the Federal Government.
But following fruitless efforts by the government and other stakeholders to reach a truce with the aggrieved lecturers, the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government, on September 11, dragged ASUU to the National Industrial Court.
The court, on September 24, ordered the union to return to classroom while negotiation with the Federal Government continues.
But miffed by the ruling, ASUU headed to the appellate court to appeal the ruling.
However, the Appeal Court, while delivering a judgement on Friday, ruled that the union must obey the ruling of the lower court and call off the strike immediately pending the determination of the substantive suit.
ASUU President, Professor Emmanuel Osodeke, told reporters on Friday while reacting to the ruling that the union would review the Appeal Court’s order before it would decide on the next line of action.
He said, “We have not received the ruling, when we get it, we will review it with our lawyer and then we can take the next step”.
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, had while reacting to the development on Friday, said labour controllers across the States of the federation are monitoring schools to ensure compliance with the ruling of the Court of Appeal.
“I have asked labour controllers in the states and the zones to go to the schools and see if the vice-chancellors have opened the gates.
“If they don’t, they will be charged for contempt,” he said while featuring on a Channels Television program.
Meanwhile, a member of the union who pleaded anonymity, told reporters on Saturday that the National Executive Council of ASUU would be meeting today to review the Appeal Court judgement.
He said, “The Appeal Court ruling will be critically reviewed on Sunday and it is after that we will know the fate of Nigerian students who have been forced to stay at home for almost eight months due to the Federal Government’s negligence.
“Ngige and the Buhari government failed to understand that even if they force the union to resume work, they cannot force the lecturers to teach the Nigerian students whose future have been jeopardized”.
However, when contacted for confirmation, the ASUU president simply said, “we don’t advertise our meeting, it is private”.