ASUU president warns Industrial Court against forcing lecturers back to work

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The President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Emmanuel Osodeke, has warned that the quality of teaching in the nation’s universities will be negatively affected if the National Industrial Court (NIC) forces the union to return to work. Mr Osodeke stated this on Tuesday during a meeting between the union, the leadership of the House of Representatives and Minister of State for Education, Goodluck Opiah.

He said asking the striking lecturers back to school is like the court forcing doctors to hospitals.

“If the court forces the lecturers to go to work tomorrow, which type of teaching will they do? If the court forces the Nigerian academics — say go and teach against your will — just like the court forcing a doctor to go and treat a patient against your will, how many of us will go and meet that doctor,” he said.

Mr Osodeke’s comment is coming amid the ongoing legal battle between the federal government and the lecturers, who have been on strike since 14 February.

The federal government had approached the NIC seeking an order of the court to direct ASUU to return to school. Justice Polycarp Hamman of the NICN had adjourned the case on Monday after listening to the arguments of the counsel on behalf of the parties. The court is to deliver its ruling on Wednesday. Following the presentation by ASUU President, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, called for a closed-door session to allow free discussion on the strike.

Seek alternative funding for education – Gbajabiamila

Earlier, while welcoming lawmakers from their annual recess, Mr Gbajabiamila asked the federal government to seek alternative means of funding education.

“We all agree that the government has a role in ensuring that our nation’s young people get a quality education that allows them to compete and thrive in the 21st-century knowledge economy. Yet, evidence abounds that the current framework of government-sponsored tertiary education is no longer working as it should and hasn’t worked for a long time.

“Our immediate goal is to do everything to get our children back to school. However, the time has also come to begin a candid assessment of the current system and to consider all available options for complete reform,” he said.

Details later.

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