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    ASUU vows to appeal judgment as NANS rejects court order on Lecturers resumption

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    By Abdul Lawal, Abuja

    The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has said it is set to appeal the order by the
    National Industrial Court (NIC) directing the suspension of its seven months old strike.

    A statement issued on Wednesday by the Chairman of Lagos Zone of ASUU, Adelaja Odukoya, the
    union urged its members to “remain calm.”

    The union said its lawyer is already filing an appeal.

    Renowned human rights activist, Femi Falana, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), is the counsel to
    ASUU.

    The statement by ASUU is titled; “NIC Back to Work Order on ASUU: Be Calm.” It urged members
    and Nigerians to remain united, even as it suggested that the order would be vacated.

    The statement reads in part; “Our Comrade President, Comrade Victor Osodeke, has urged members
    of our Great Union to remain calm as there is no cause for alarm on the back-to-work order delivered
    earlier today.

    “Our lawyer is filing an appeal and stay of execution of the judgment. Members should remain
    resolute and strong.

    A people united can never be defeated. Solidarity without compromise.”
    Meanwhile, the leadership of the National Association of Nigerian Students and the National
    Coordinator of the Education Rights Campaign (ERC), Hassan Soweto, has reacted to the industrial
    court order.

    Mr. Soweto described the court verdict as unfair and shameful, saying it is a confirmation of his belief
    that “the judiciary is simply an arm of the apparatus of the capitalist state, just as the police and the
    Army.”

    The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) through a statement by its Public relations Officer rejected the industrial Court Ruling, which asked the university lecturers to
    end their strike, describing it as a black market judgment.

    The statement signed by its National Public Relations Officer, Giwa Yisa Temitope described the
    judgment as “Black market judgment”

    Soweto called on the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union
    Congress (TUC) to declare a 48-hour nationwide warning strike in reaction to the court order.

    He said the Nigerian court’s role “is to defend the interest of the corrupt ruling elite who are busy
    stealing the money required to fund public education.”

    He said; “At this stage, all we can say is that our solidarity with ASUU on its resolve to fight for
    adequate funding for public universities remains unshakable despite this court order.

    “We urge the NLC and TUC not to allow the government to use the court to frustrate the legitimate
    struggle of ASUU. We call on the labour movement to respond to this unfair court order by
    escalating action into a 48-hour warning general strike and mass protest.”

    Here, below, is the full statement NANS issued through its National PRO,

    “Our attention has been drawn to news of a court judgment mandating the Academic Staff
    Union of Universities (ASUU) to call off its 7-month strike. As an association, we feel
    disturbed to read the news of the judgment because we believe that it betrays equity.
    Ordinarily, the Federal Government is not meant to have dragged ASUU to court. But, the
    fact that they had to drag ASUU to court is a signal that this government cannot handle
    a crisis. And, we want to state categorically that the court cannot force members of ASUU
    back to lecture theatres.

    And, as it stands today, with that court judgment, we maintain that the court has not
    resolved the problem and we reject the judgment in strong terms. The court could have said
    that the Federal Government should go and pay rather than say that lecturers who are on
    strike should go back to classrooms.

    We were expecting the court to have understood that
    lecturers are on a contract of personal service hence, they cannot be compelled to render a
    service they don’t want to render.
    The only remedy to this strike action is for the Federal Government to accede to the
    demands of ASUU which the government willingly entered into with them and properly fund
    education.”

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