Campaign will not hold till ASUU strike is called off – NANS

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The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) has warned not to allow any political campaign to hold across the country till students of public universities return to classrooms.

Chairman, NANS National Taskforce, Ojo Olumide, announced this at a press conference in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, on Wednesday, some days to September 28, the official date for candidates to kick-off campaign as announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission.

“Our blocking of access to public roads and ports is just a warning. If the government fails to conclude all the negotiation and agreement with ASUU within the frame of two weeks, they will witness more protests and rallies all over the country, they will also witness the annoyance, anger and frustration of Nigerian Students who have been at home for the past seven months.

“As we promise them that we will not allow any political campaign to hold across the country until we are back to class. This government has pushed so many Nigerian students into depression. We say enough is enough; we can no longer bear the brunt from this avoidable crisis in our nation public ivory towers again,” he said.

The Academic Staff Union of Universities has been on strike since February 14, 2022 as talks between the Federal Government and lecturers of public universities broke down.

Over the weeks the students’ body has embarked on protest blocking access road to the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos as well as the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway and the Ibadan-Ife Road, causing pains to thousands of commuters and passengers.

Meanwhile, The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has vowed to appeal the National Industrial Court judgement that the lecturers should return to class.

Mr Femi Falana, who is the counsel to the union, confirmed this on Wednesday hours after the ruling of the court, saying he was preparing the grounds of appeal at the time of this report.

The industrial action by ASUU has continued to take a toll on the nation’s education, especially the tertiary sector as academic activities in most government-owned universities have been halted for over seven months.

The lecturers downed tools on February 14 over the controversy on the adoption of the Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System (IPPIS) of the government as the payment system in the university sector, among other issues.

They had also condemned the poor funding of universities, non-payment of salaries and allowances of some of their colleagues, as well as the inability of the government to pay earned academic allowance to lecturers.

But efforts to get the academics back to class have failed until now as several negotiations between the union and the government have failed.

Amid outcry over the effect of the industrial action and after seemingly exploring all available options, the government decided to take legal action against the union.

The government, through its lead counsel, Mr James Igwe, had filed an application for an interlocutory injunction, seeking an order of the court restraining ASUU from further continuing with the strike.

Delivering a ruling on the government’s application, Justice Polycarp Hamman restrained ASUU from continuing with the industrial action, pending the determination of the suit.

He ordered that the case file should be returned to the president of the Industrial Court for reassignment to another judge, as he is a vacation judge.

According to the judge, the strike is detrimental to public university students who cannot afford to attend private tertiary institutions.

He added that the Trade Dispute Act mandates workers not to embark on strike once an issue has been referred to the industrial court.

Justice Hamman upheld the application of the government, saying it was meritorious and granted, but refused to fine the government as demanded by ASUU.

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