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ASUU Is Advised Not To Disobey The Court Order By FG.

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has been warned by the Federal Government that it has broken an order from the National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NICN) to end its strike.

In a statement that was signed by Mr. Olajide Oshundun, the Deputy Director, Press and Public Relations in the ministry, on Sunday in Abuja, Dr. Chris Ngige, the Minister of Labor and Employment, gave the advice.

“The union is dishonest and misleading its members and the general public, that it has filed an appeal as well has a stay of execution of the order of NICN on Sept. 2, though it has none of this.

“Rather, ASUU only filed an application for a permission to appeal the order. It also attached to the application, a proposed notice of appeal which it intends to file if the leave to appeal is granted.

“The application for a stay of execution as of this moment has not even been listed for hearing. Where then is ASUU coming from?

“It is therefore contemptuous, dishonest and misleading for the union to tell its members that it has not only appealed the interlocutory injunction by the NICN, directing it to call off strike and return to work, but that it also has a stay of execution,’’ he said.

As a result, Ngige characterized the ASUU’s recent directive to its members to carry on with the action as unjustified lawlessness, noting that “the Federal Government strongly frowns at this.”

By directing its members to continue with the eight-month-old strike, the minister advised the lecturers on strike to stop enforcing laws.

He claims that this goes against the NICN’s interlocutory injunction, which prevented the union from taking any further action.

He warned of the consequences of disobeying a court order and accused the union’s leadership of misleading its members.

Ngige reiterated the government’s request to the union to comply with the court order and return to work until negotiations on the remaining disagreements are concluded.

Additionally, the statement refuted reports that the minister left the September 29 meeting between the House of Representatives and the ASUU.

It stated that after making his presentation, the minister left the meeting to attend to other urgent matters with the permission of Femi Gbajabiamila, Speaker of the House of Representatives.

It stated that the Speaker had previously granted such permission to the Secretary of the Federation’s Government.

The statement also mentioned that Ngige discussed the two major issues over which the ASUU is still on strike at that meeting.

The minister said, “on renegotiation of salaries and wages of lecturers, I sympathize with ASUU like other Nigerian workers.”

“The economy is bad and hard time, biting hard on everybody. ASUU deserves no blame.

“The Briggs Committee was the product of reconciliation of my ministry, which had to move to the ASUU’s direct employers – Ministry of Education for a Collective Bargaining Agreement, so we can arrive on what is good to be paid to ASUU, subject to approval by the President

“The President has a Presidential Committee on Salaries and Wages chaired by the Minister of Finance, with myself as co-chair and other members – National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission, Budget Office, etc.

“Every MDA, whether drawing from the treasury or not, must pass through this committee on any issue concerning salaries for approval, before transmission to the President. The report of the Briggs Committee did not unfortunately pass this rout

It said that Ngige also revealed that when the issue of payment platform – UTAS – came up, he persuaded the President to “give the platform a trial in the spirit of Executive Order 3 and 4, and the SGF supported me”.

“If the system is good, we adopt it for the whole country, but meanwhile the hardware is not there. How do you do it?

“The test – the three of them – IPPIS, UTAS, UPPPS – have failed the test. Do you recommend something that has failed a test?. So, no matter how I love ASUU, I won’t support something that failed a test.”

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