Will ASUU fully obey the industrial court order to call off its strike?
This is the question agitating the minds of observers after the National Industrial Court in Abuja on Wednesday ordered the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to call off its seven months old strike immediately.
ASUU President, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, at the National Assembly complex on Tuesday wondered that if the court ordered members of ASUU to resume, whether it would get them to do the actual teaching of students.
The court had invoked section 18 of the Trade Dispute Act and national interest of the Nigerian students to grant the request of the Federal Government for an order of injunction against the lecturers.
Justice Polycap Hamman issued the order for suspension of the strike while ruling on an application filed by the Federal Government asking that the University teachers be compelled to go back to work pending the resolution of their demands for better working conditions.
Osodeke, after a meeting with House of Representatives leadership, led by Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila, on Tuesday, said: “We are meeting with the Ministry of Education and the Committee of Pro Chancellors and Vice-Chancellors and others.
“As we are doing this, the same Ministry of Labour ran to court.
“If the courts force the lecturers to go work tomorrow, which type of teaching will they do?
“If the courts force the Nigerian academics to go and teach against their will, just like a court forcing a doctor to treat a patient against his will, how many of us will go to that doctor?
“This is the seventh month this strike is on.
“We have never been called to a formal meeting by the Minister of Education.
“No formal meeting.
“We were only called to a meeting twice by the Minister of Labour: 27the of February and March 1.
“Between then and now, we have not been called to a formal meeting.
“I used the word ‘formal’.
“I challenge the Minister of Education to show that he had called for any formal meeting.
“I can assure you that in the next 10 years, our public universities will be like public primary and secondary schools.”