A Nigerian court on Wednesday ordered public university lecturers to call off a nationwide seven-month industrial action and return to their duty posts.
The order by the National Industrial Court in Abuja, the Nigerian capital, followed a suit filed by the federal government challenging the prolonged industrial action of the public university lecturers, under the aegis of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), in the most populous African country.
The Nigerian government approached the court on Sept. 12 to determine the legality of the strike, accusing ASUU’s prolonged industrial action of affecting public universities in the country since Feb. 14.
The court while granting the government’s request Wednesday said the industrial action by the lecturers was detrimental to public university students who cannot afford to attend private tertiary institutions.
“The balance of convenience tilts in favor of the applicant,” the court said, restraining ASUU from taking further steps and doing any act in continuance of the strike action pending the hearing and determination of the suit filed.
The seven-month strike by the ASUU so far had demanded, among others, the renegotiation of welfare, government funding for the revitalization of public universities, earned academic allowances, and promotion arrears.
Talks between the government and the ASUU continued to yield no result, leading to the prolonged strike by the lecturers.
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari last month called on the striking lecturers to reconsider their decision and return to the classroom, noting such prolonged interruption of education could undermine the nation’s development of human capital.
Earlier this month, the Ministry of Labor and Employment said in a statement it was requesting an order from the court for members of the lecturers’ union to resume work in their various universities while the issues in dispute are being addressed in consonance with the law. Enditem