IBADAN, Nigeria (VOICE OF NAIJA) – Nigerian lawyer and human rights advocate, Femi Falana, on Tuesday, said, the Federal Government cannot accuse the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) of contempt of court.
According to Falana, ASUU did not engage in contempt of court on the recent verdict of the national industrial court.
He added that the union is seeking to appeal and stay the execution of the judgment.
On 21 September, the industrial court ordered ASUU to call off its ongoing nationwide strike.
The judge, Polycarp Hamman, granted the federal government’s application for an interlocutory injunction to restrain ASUU from continuing with the strike.
Subsequently, the union filed an appeal seeking a stay of execution of the judgment.
ASUU has been on strike since 14 February, to press home the demand for improved funding for universities, review of salaries for lecturers, among other issues.
Over the weekend, Chris Ngige, Minister of Labour and Productivity, warned ASUU against the consequences of contempt of court.
Reacting to Ngige’s comments, Falana, counsel to ASUU, in a statement on Monday, said the application for the leave of the court of appeal against the injunction is the same as an appeal under the rules of the court.
“The minister is unaware that the national industrial court lacks the jurisdictional competence to intervene in the resolution of a trade dispute that has not been determined by the industrial arbitration panel,” Falana said.
“However, instead of chasing the shadow by threatening the ASUU with contempt of court and proscription, the federal government should adopt urgent measures to end the strike that has paralysed academic activities in public universities for the past seven months.
“In particular, the federal government should take advantage of the intervention of the leadership of the house of representatives to resolve all outstanding issues and end the strike as soon as possible.”