Senator Chris Ngige
The federal government has denied the allegation that it paid members of the Nigerian Academic Staff Union (ASUU) half their salaries in October.
Mr. Olajide Oshundun, Head of Press and Public Relations at the Federal Ministry of Labor and Employment, said this in a statement he signed in Abuja on Saturday.
Oshundun said the ministry was reacting to reports of alleged selective treatment and payment of half salary to ASUU members.
He described both reports as grossly inaccurate, misleading and brazen distortion of the facts.
He noted that ASUU members were paid their prorated October salary, and not half salary as the media widely reported.
According to him, the pro rata was made because they cannot be paid for work not done.
He also said that the Minister of Labor and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, never ordered the Accountant General of the Federation to pay half the salary of university professors.
“Following the Court of Appeal ruling, which upheld the order of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NICN), requesting ASUU to return to work, the union management wrote to the Minister informing him that the Strike had been called off.
“The Federal Ministry of Education wrote to Ngige in a similar way and our labor inspectors in several states have also confirmed that they have resumed work.
“So the minister wrote to the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and Planning, instructing that their salaries be restored.
“They were paid pro rata based on the number of days they worked in October,” he said.
He added that counted from the day they suspended their work stoppage, it was prorated because “they cannot be paid for work not done. Everyone's hands are tied."
Oshundun also dismissed a statement by ASUU, a branch of Usman Danfodiyo Sokoto University (UDUS), Muhammad Al-Mustapha, that the Minister of Labor and Employment was biased in paying salaries to selected professional members of the union.
“Obviously, those referring to the president of ASUU are members of the Medical and Dental Consultants Association (MDCAN) who abstained from ASUU's eight-month strike.
“This is because they abhorred the effects of the incessant strikes on medical education in Nigeria and the production of more doctors.
“Accusing the Minister of Labor and Employment of partial payment of salaries to selected professional members of ASUU is a blatant distortion of the facts.
Mustapha said he has received information that a segment of the staff at the College of Health Sciences (CHS) have been paid seven months of their withheld salaries from March to September.
“He added that this was due to a letter written to the Minister of Fice, instructing the exemption of the personnel listed in the application of the 'No work, no pay' rule,” Oshundun said.
According to him, to set the record straight, the medical professors referred to by the ASUU UDUS branch abstained from the ASUU eight-month strike.
He added that the Association of Medical and Dental Consultants (MDCAN) corroborated it in a statement on November 4.
The association said in the statement: “Realizing the emergency situation in the sub-region, the health threats worsened, we refrained from the strike.
“UDUS medical and dental professors decided to continue academic activities during the ASUU strike to save our health care from total collapse.
Consequently, the ministry dismissed the accusation of selective treatment in the payment of salaries to ASUU members and urged the media to cross-check their data to avoid giving the public incorrect information.
However, Professor Emmanuel Osodeke, president of ASUU, who spoke to the Nigerian News Agency , said union members were shocked when they received the half salary payment.
According to Osodeke, we cannot understand what is happening. How do you pay half wages to people who have just resumed a prolonged strike?
“Well, what we have to do is work it out with the Minister of Labor and Employment,” Osodeke said.
Source Credit: NAN
The Federal Government has appealed to the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) to rescind its opposition to the registration of two new academic unions in the Nigerian public university system.
Sen. Chris Ngige, Ministerof Labour and Employment, made the call in a statement signed by Mr Olajide Oshundun, Head, Press and Public Relations, in the ministry on Tuesday in Abuja.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the new unions are the Congress for Nigerian University Academics (CONUA) and the Nigeria Association of Medical and Dental Academics (NAMDA).
NAN reports that CONUA and NAMDA received letters of recognition recently by the ministry in Abuja.
However, in a letter to Ngige, the President of NLC, Mr Ayuba Wabba, demanded for the withdrawal of the letters issued to the unions, is on the grounds that their registration contravened the laws guiding trade unionism.
Ngige, in his reply, on Oct, 12, had appealed to NLC to allow the new unions to exist in the spirit of Freedom of Association.
The minister insisted that the Trade Dispute Act 2004 gives him the sole power to register new trade unions, either by registering a new union or regrouping existing ones.
He reiterated that the new unions were offshoots or by-products of regrouping and their applications were considered by two committees of his ministry.
He said that this was with the Registrar of Trade Unions participating when the first recommendation for approval was given in 2019, and again in 2022. He also said that CONUA and NAMDA were regrouped from the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), for efficiency and effectiveness in the system.
The minister added that ,more importantly, to protect these groups of university teachers whose worldview differs from the restive parent union.
“Comrade President, do not unnecessarily oppose the registration of these new academic unions.
“Because with ASUU, they are all like seeds on the academic soil of Nigeria and which will grow into big trees we don’t know, but the one which her trees are not bearing good fruits, we already know.
“So, as an uncle of the unions, oppose none in the spirit of Freedom of Association, ’’he said.
He said that it should be noted that Section 3 (2) of the Trade Dispute Act, CAP T14 gives the Minister of Labour and Employment, the sole power to register new trade unions, either by registering new trade union or regrouping existing ones.
He added that the matter was a subject of litigation in the National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NICN) in most recent case which the President of the NLC failed to mention in his narration of court cases, “The case of the Nigerian Union of Pensioners (NUP) and the regrouped Federal Parastatals and Private Sector Pensioners Association of Nigeria (FEPPAN) from NUP where the Law on Regrouping of Trade Unions was extensively explored and ruled upon.
“Unlike the cases cited by the President of the NLC to misinform the general public and unfortunately lead astray his affiliate Trade Union – ASUU,’’he said.
Ngige recalled that the NICN in a Suit no.
2192019, buttressed its earlier ruling on the matter and which had stated inter alia that the power to register trade unions resides with the Minister of Labour and Employment.
He noted that the last segment of Section 3(2) does not refer to the regrouping of existing trade unions, hence, the differentiation within the section between registering a new trade union and regrouping existing ones.
According him, we note your reference to Section 5 of the same Act, which deals with the “Procedure on receipt of application for registration” of a Trade Union.
“Section 5(4) in Particular states that the Registrar shall not register a trade union if it appears to him that any existing trade union is sufficiently representative of the interests of the class of workers concerned-CONUA members were ostracised and de-unionised by ASUU.
“Do we as the “Competent Authority” on Labour matters, including trade union services, pay homage to ASUU and acquiesce to leaving a large segment of lecturers and academia un-unionised, without protection, without a voice, and without a right at work.
`Are these workers not covered by the same ILO Conventions nos.
87 & 97?
” On NAMDA, Ngige said that they are medical doctors lecturing in the universities were against the incessant prolonged and illegal strikes by ASUU.
“They said the strike had disrupted medical training and caused consequential damages to the educational system and by implication, the quantity and quality of future medical doctors and dentists in Nigeria.
“They have been teaching and some have graduated their students since the 8-month old strike by ASUU which commenced on Feb 14 2022. Universities of Maidugri, Bauchi and Sokoto medical teachers are indeed patriots.
“Moreover, their peculiar needs are quite different from the rest of ASUU members and they are often left out on welfare and career progression in the universities – the core functions of a registered trade union,’’he said.
Ngige therefore, said the NLC President to desist from using his position to deceive the general public by misguiding them with mal-citations of Labour Authorities.
He added that, if ASUU feels aggrieved, they could approach the Courts for Judicial remedy as law abiding citizens just like the Federal Government through Federal Ministry of Labour & Employment.
“That is by virtue of the powers conferred by Section 17 of the TDA, transmitted the trade dispute to the NICN for adjudication, due to refusal of the union to comply with the provisions of Section 18 of the TDA, conciliation having failed,’’he said.
The Ministry of Labour and Employment has lauded Nigerians for their support in the negotiations leading to the end of strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
Mr Olajide Oshundun, Deputy Director Press in the ministry, said this in a statement he signed on Friday in Abuja.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the leadership of ASUU had earlier in the day suspended its eight months old strike.
Oshundun said Sen. Chris Ngige, the Minister of Labour and Employment, had expressed gratitude to all well-meaning Nigerians who had participated in the various negotiations to ensure the strike was call off.
He said that with the steps the Federal Government is taking, Nigerian students will be saved the unpalatable experience of intermittent, prolonged industrial actions in future.
He also said “in a special way,” Ngige expressed gratitude to Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila and the leadership of the House of Representatives, revealing , “we particularly recognise the patriotic efforts of the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III, the former President of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Rev. Supo Ayokunle.
He also commended all members of Nigeria Inter Religious Council (NIREC) and Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria, whose wisdom and intervention raised a ray of hope while the strike was at infancy but for ASUU’s intransigence to negotiation.
“We were forced to migrate the matter to the National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NICN), created by the 1999 Constitution as amended, for the settlement of industrial disputes.
“This is because every channel of negotiation, including the tripartite plus, in which eminent Nigerians participated in, failed.
“We were left with no other option than to trigger Section 17 of the Trade Disputes Act .
CAP T8, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004, on dispute resolution mechanism in seeking the intervention of the National Industrial Court,’’ he said.
“Now, ASUU has decided to obey the judgment of the NICN by calling off the devastating action.
“We apologise to all students and parents, of which the minister is one, for this unduly prolonged strike, which is unwarranted ab initio,’’ he said.
He gave the assurance that with the decision, steps and measures being taken by the current administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, in repositioning higher education, a groundwork is being laid.
He added “we are confident that this will save Nigerians, this unpalatable experience of incessant strike in future.
“It is verily our hope that now that the strike has been called off, the National Industrial Court will deal with the substantive issues as contained in the referral letter by the minister.
“This is to ensure that justice is given to all parties, including ASUU and their employers – the Federal Ministry of Education which acts on behalf of the Federal Government,’’ he said.
He further noted that the Ministry of Labour and Employment will continue to cooperate with both parties in finding amicable solution to other issues not placed before the industrial court.
He said this will find a lasting solution to the instability in the university system,’’ he said.
The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) and the Body of Senior Advocates of Nigeria (BOSAN), on Thursday, condemned the actions of the Imo Government and the Nigerian Police Force leading to the closure of the Owerri division of the National Industrial Court.
The NBA’s President, Yakubu Maikyau, SAN, and BOSAN’s Chairman, Chief Adegboyega Awomolo, SAN, decried the role played by the state government and the police in the court shutdown.
The leadership of the two associations spoke separately in Abuja at the 20222023 Legal Year of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NICN).
Maikyau said the body condemned the act displayed by the state government in the strongest terms and aided by the police.
“It is sad to note that our colleagues who ought to know better were complicit in the shameless attempt at undermining the authority of the court.
“We must always remember that the rule of law is essential in the maintenance of a free, fair, and democratic society, and so there is need to respect and uphold the same,” Maikyau said.
Awomolo also decried the constant invasion of judges residences by agents of government.
“I am fanatic about respect for the judicial arm of government, and obedience to the rule of law, hence, my vehement opposition to the infamous invasion of the homes of our judges; the last being in Kano in September 2022.“This incidence was crude, clear impunity which must not be allowed to be swept under the carpet as one of those incidents.
“Somebody must be held responsible and suffer for the assault on the judiciary,” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that on June 3, four staff of the National Industrial Court, Owerri division, were attacked and whisked away by the anti-kidnap squad of the Nigerian police, while performing their duty, among other dramas that took place in the stateThe development led to the President of the NICN, Justice Benedict Kanyip directing immediate closure of that division.
The Federal Government has registered two new academic unions in the public university system, to exist alongside the striking Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen. Chris Ngige, presented the certificates to the unions on Tuesday in Abuja.
The new unions are the Congress of Nigeria University Academics (CONUA) and the National Association of Medical and Dental Academics (NAMDA).
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has been on strike since Feb. 14, over the non-implementation of its demand entered with the Federal Government.
According to Ngige, the two new unions will exist side by side with ASUU in the Nigerian universities in the spirit and tenets of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Core Convention nos.
87&98. “These conventions are respectively on Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to organise and Collective Bargaining.
“This is as well as the enthronement of the four pillars and principles of the Decent Work Agenda (DWA), considered necessary for social justice and equity in the world of work,’’ he said.
He expressed sadness over the persistence of the ASUU strike in spite of the efforts by the Federal Government to resolve it through the Education Ministry, after his ministry apprehended the strike and did conciliations twice, on Feb. 22 and March 1. The minister also recalled that the National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NICN) had granted an order of interlocutory, directing ASUU to go back to work, but the leadership and its members refused to obey the order of a competent court.
Ngige, however, noted that interestingly, a lot of university teachers in the public universities had indicated their willingness to get back to work while negotiations continue but were obstructed by ASUU officials.
`It is worthy to note that some medical doctors who are teachers in the various medical of Medicine had carried on with teaching in the University of Maiduguri, Bauchi and Sokoto and had graduated their new doctors in the midst of the ASUU strike.
“These group of lecturers had since been applying to have their own academic associations registered as trade unions to organise their members because they do not share in the models, objectives, modus operandi, mission and vision of ASUU.
“They cite that under Section 40 of the Constitution, they have the right to freedom of association with people sharing the same academic vision and mission-like minds,’’ he said.
Ngige, while giving background on the two newly registered associations, said that CONUA applied for registration since 2018, citing irreconcilable differences with ASUU, as their members did not believe in recurring strikes as the solution to every welfare agitation.
He said like CONUA, NAMDA applied for registration as medical teachers in the university system under various groups, including medical doctors doing pre-clinical teaching of basic courses and honorary consultants teaching clinical students in the teaching hospitals.
“Due to their peculiarities such as impediment in their career progression in the universities’ system resulting in frequent and continuous agitations which had impacted an endangered species syndrome to these groups of , “The ministry’s special committee has also recommended their registration as an Academic Union as all groups have the same objectives, mission and .
“It may be noted that Section 3(2) of the Trade Union Act, Cap .
T14, Laws of the Federation (LFN) 2004 gives the Minister of Labour and Employment powers to regroup an existing trade union of workers or employers, ’’he said.
Ngige consequently, in the exercise of the power conferred on him, approved the registration of CONUA and NAMDA He said, “they are accordingly, entitled to all rights and privileges, accruing to such academic , including but not limited to receiving check off dues of their members in accordance with Section 17 of the Trade Union Act. “They are also to have members in the Nigerian University Pension Management Company (NUPEMCO) and being on CONUA Salary .
“They are equally entitled to Earned Academic Allowances (EAA) and all other allowances attached thereto.
ASUU despite bickering experienced protests from a large majority of her members including CONUA and NAMDA members,’’ he added.
Responding, NAMDA President, Dr Nosa Orhue, commended the minister and his team for the approval of the registration as a trade union.
Orhue said the registration had given medical and dental academicians in the universities and other institutions, where the training of medical doctors and postgraduate doctors take place, a legal voice.
He added that this was in the determination of the training requirements, management of the training system and the welfare of her members.
Also, Mr Niyi Somonu, National Coordinator of CONUA, described its registration as a trade Union in the Nigerian university system, as monumentally historic.
According to him, the hurdles we have faced to get here, since 2018 when we submitted our application for registration, have been seemingly insurmountable.
“The registration is therefore the validation of the power of the human will.
It asserts the value of courage, initiative, focus, tenacity, patience, forbearance and persistent positive thinking.
“We regard the registration of CONUA as a sacred trust and pledge to reciprocate by devoting ourselves unceasingly to the advancement of university education in this country.
“ We would make the details of our programmes available to the public in due course.
“For now, we are giving the assurance that we would work to ensure that the nation is not traumatised again by academic union dislocations in the country’s public universities,’ ’he said.
He also commended the entire membership of the union for believing in the righteousness of the CONUA cause and for believing in the leadership of the union.
The Federal Government has cautioned the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) over disobeying the order of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NICN) to call off its ongoing strike.
Dr Chris Ngige, the Minister of Labour and Employment, gave the advice in a statement signed by Mr Olajide Oshundun, the Deputy Director, Press and Public Relations, in the ministry on Sunday in Abuja.
“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.
Ngige therefore described the new directive by ASUU, exhorting its members to continue with the action as an unwarranted lawlessness, noting that “the Federal Government strongly frowns at this”.
The minister advised the striking lecturers to cease taking laws into its hands by directing its members to continue with the 8-month old strike.
According to him, this is in defiance of the interlocutory injunction by the NICN which restrained the union from further action.
He accused the leadership of the union of misinforming and misleading its members and warned of consequences of contempt of court order.
Ngige reiterated government call to the union to respect the court order and return to work, while negotiations are concluded on the remaining issues in contention.
The statement also denied reports that the minister walked out on the meeting between the House of Representatives and ASUU on Sept. 29. It said the minister left the meeting to attend to other pressing matters with the permission of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, after making his presentation.
It stated that the Secretary to the Government of the Federation was earlier granted such permission by the Speaker.
The statement further recalled that at that meeting, Ngige addressed the two major issues over which ASUU is still on strike.
It said, according to the minister, “on renegotiation of salaries and wages of lecturers, I sympathise with ASUU just 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 route.
” 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.
Noble Youths Mass Support Association (NYMSA), an FCT youth group, has called on the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to obey the resumption order given by the National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NICN) in Abuja on Wednesday.
Mr Godwin Onmonya, the National Coordinator of the group, made the call while speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria in Gwagwalada, FCT.
He said the strike was having negative impacts on students.
The union, through its President, Mr Emmanuel Osodeke, had embarked on a nationwide warning strike since Feb. 14 to press home its demands, stressing that the action would continue until their demands were met.
Some of the lecturers demands were funding of the Revitalisation of Public Universities, Earned Academic Allowances, University Transparency Accountability Solution (UTAS) and promotion arrears.
Others are the renegotiation of the 2009 ASUU-FG Agreement and alleged inconsistency in Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System.
The strike, which entered its seventh month, forced the Federal Government to institute a suit at the court to halt the strike and enable students to resume.
However, students through the National Association of Nigeria Students (NANS), embarked on protests by blocking entrance to the International Airport Lagos, threatening to block other major roads, if the demands were not met by government.
The court granted the resumption order, pending the determination of the substantive suit, at the instance of the Minister of Labour and Employment, pursuant to his powers on Labour Laws of the Federation.
Similarly, Mr Luka Ayuba, a parent in Gwagwalada Area Council, whose child was studying veterinary medicine at the University of Abuja, said that the strike had made his son shift focus to other things.
“After each episode of strike, the children are no more focused and they end up not graduating within the stipulated years.
“My only pain is that the people in government are not feeling it because their own children are not in public schools but abroad or in private schools,” he said.
Meanwhile, ASUU Zonal Coordinator, Abuja, Dr Salawu Lawal, had earlier said there would be no resumption in public universities until the renegotiated 2009 agreement was signed, implemented and the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) deployed.
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) says it is waiting for its lawyers for professional advice, following the National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NICN) order restraining it from continuing with strike.
The President of the Union, Mr Emmanuel Osodeke, disclosed this in a telephone interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja on Wednesday.
The union had embarked on the industrial action to press home improved academic environment and welfare of members.
Some of the lecturers demands are funding of the Revitalisation of Public Universities, Earned Academic Allowances, University Transparency Accountability Solution (UTAS) and promotion arrears.
Others are the renegotiation of the 2009 ASUU-FG Agreement and the inconsistency in Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System.
The strike has entered its seventh month the Federal Government instituted a suit before the court to halt it to enable students resume.
This followed the failure of government and the union to reach workable agreements.
However, students through the National Association of Nigeria Students (NANS) have embarked on protests by blocking entrance to the International Airport Lagos and have threatened to block other major roads, if the demands were not met by government.
The NICN granted the order pending the determination of the substantive suit before the court, at the instance of the Minister of Labour and Employment, pursuant to his powers, as provided in Section 17 of the Trade Dispute Act, 2004, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria.
Ruling on the application brought by the Federal Government, the , Justice Polycarp Hamman held that since the issues in dispute have been referred to the court, ordered ASUU (the defendants) not to take part in any further strike, pending the determination of the substantive suit.
According to Hamman, the argument of Femi Falana SAN, the counsel to the defendants that the act of the applicants had been concluded is of no moment and flies in the face of Exhibit 2 dated Aug. 29, 2022. Attached to the affidavit in support of the application where the defendants communicated to the Minister of Labour and Employment, their decision to rollover the strike to a comprehensive indefinite and total strike, beginning from 12.01 am on Aug. 29, 2022. Hamman noted that as the time of reading his ruling on Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2022, the strike action embarked upon by the defendants on Feb. 14, 2022, had not ended.
He maintained that workers cannot go on strike when relevant sections of the TDA have been complied with by the Minister of Labour in conciliating a labour dispute.
He praised the minister for acting in national interest by referring the matter to the National Industrial Court of Nigeria.
While noting that the balance of convenience is crucial to determining an application for interlocutory injunction, Hamman stated that the balance of convenience tilts in favour of the claimants who own the universities and taken into consideration the interest of the students, whose parents cannot afford private universities in Nigeria or abroad.
He insisted that the strike inflicted irreparable damage to public university education in the country, lamenting that university students have been out of school for eight months in a country where age is considered for employment and enrollment into the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), Nigerian Army, Air Force, Navy and and paramilitary organisations.
Justice Hamman dismissed the claim by the defendants counsel that the strike was prompted by serial breach of agreement by the Federal Government, saying since the matter has been referred to the Industrial Court by the Minister of Labour and Employment, the defendants are mandated by the law not to engage in any further strike, pending the determination of the substantive matter.
He said: “Section 18 Subsection 1 of the TDA, 2004, connotes an obligation, which is mandatory and leaves no room for discretion.
“Section 18 (2) criminalises any contravention of 18(1) and imposes the fine of N100 or imprisonment for six months for an individual and N1000 for a corporate body.
“In this circumstance and on the strength of Section 254.6.(1) b of the constitution, Section 18(1) e of the TDA, Section 7(1) e, 16 and 19 b of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria Act 2006, I hold that this application is meritorious and same is hereby granted.
” Justice Hamman further held that the rephrase by Falana that the court should grant accelerated hearing of the application in place of injunctive relief “is of no moment”, going by the rules of the court.
He maintained that the applicants met the requirements for granting of an injunction, contrary fo the averments of Falana SAN.
Reacting inside the courtroom, lead counsel to the Federal Government, James U.
K. Igwe SAN, said: “I thank his Lordship for the ruling, rendered with unparalleled erudition, scholarly analysis and research and which took into cognisance of education as being basic to education in Nigeria.
The Federal Government says it will adjust workers salaries to meet the current realities in the economy of the country.
Sen. Chris Ngige, the Minister of Labour and Employment said this at the public presentation of the NLC of 40 publication titled, “Contemporary History of Working Class Struggles’’ on Monday in Abuja.
Ngige said that the Federal Government was very much aware that the N30,000 National Minimum Wage had depreciated.
“Yes the inflation has increased worldwide and it is not confined to Nigeria, that is why in many jurisdiction, it is an adjustment of wages right now.
“We as the Nigerian government, we shall adjust in confirmative with what is happening in wages.
“More importantly, the 2019 National Minimum Wage Act, right now has a clause for the review, which we started then, I do not know whether it is due next year or 2024. “But before then, the adjustment of wages will reflect what is happening in the economy,just as government has started the adjustment with the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), ‘’he said.
The minister also explained that the Federal Government did not take ASUU to court over the prolonged strike of the union as some people claimed.
Ngige said he would have failed in his duties if he did not refer the matter to the National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NICN) after seven months of protracted discussions and negotiations with the union, which failed.
He recalled that ASUU was at the stage of Collective Bargaining(CBA) negotiation with their employers, the Federal Ministry of Education when they embarked on strike.
He regretted that the ASUU leadership did not even understand the import of CBA negotiation because they lacked the nutrients of labour unionism.
According to him, we have to counsel our brothers on negotiation.
No negotiation is forced.
You cannot say it is either you give me 200 per cent or I will continue my strike.
“There are laws guiding strike.
There are ILO principles on right to strike.
Nobody can take it away.
”But, there are things that follow it when you embark on strike as a worker and they are enshrined in the laws of our land.
“It is written in Trade Dispute Act. The ILO principles of strike talks about the right of a worker to withdraw services.
There is also right to picket.
These are things that are done.
”Nigeria is respected in ILO.
Some people said Federal Government took ASUU to court.
No. I referred the matter after seven months of protracted discussions and negotiations that failed, ’’he said.
Ngige recalled that he conciliated the dispute twice, first on Feb. 22, one week after the commencement of the strike and some agreements were reached, and he brought everybody back on March 1 for another conciliation.
He added that the only thing left was going back to the Federal Ministry of Education for the renegotiation of the 2013 agreement.
“Some people are saying 2009 agreement.
The 2009 agreement has been renegotiated in 20132014 with the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan.
It is an anathema to use 2009 agreement.
“What is left is the renegotiation of their conditions of service, which is their right.
It should be done but they are negotiating it under the principle of offer and acceptance and it broke down irretrievably there at the Federal Ministry of Education.
“That kick-started Section 17 of the Trade Dispute Act whereby the Minister of Labour and Employment, whoever it is, if you don’t transmit according to the dictates of Section 17, TDA, 2004, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria.
“This means you would have failed in your function.
Therefore, I had to transmit, ’’he said.
Ngige, however, said the transmission did not mean that the matter could not be settled out of court.
He said either of the parties involved; the Federal Ministry of Education and ASUU could approach the NICN for out of court settlement.
He maintained that Nigeria must be guided by laws and nobody should use the dispute to harass anybody.
“The pro-chancellors said they want to do counter offer.
I told them to do it as quickly as possible.
Those are ingredients of labour relations.
“It is not enough if you misinform your membership.
That should be a disservice.
We should read through things as it is and interpret same way.
If I leave them in education, they will stay there two years,’’Ngige said.
On the 40 years of NLC, Ngige said: “A fool at 40 is a fool forever.
A wiseman at 40 is a wise man forever.
NLC is a wise man forever.
The Federal Government says it will meet with the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) at the National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NICN) for adjudication on Monday over prolong strike.
Dr Chris Ngige, the Minister of Labour and Employment, said this on Sunday in Abuja in a letter addressed to the Registrar of NICN, dated Sept. 8. Ngige said this in a statement signed by Olajide Oshundun, Head, Press and Public Relations, in the ministry and made available to newsmen.
He said the referral instrument had become necessary following the failure of dialogue between the union and the Federal Ministry of Education.
He added that the matter is billed for mention by 9 a.
m on Sept. 12. ”The Federal Government has asked the NICN to inquire into the legality or otherwise of the ongoing prolonged strike by ASUU leadership and members that had continued even after apprehension.
“It asked the court to interpret in its entirety the provisions of Section 18 LFN 2004, especially as it applies to the cessation of strike once a trade dispute is apprehended by the Minister of Labour and Employment and conciliation is ongoing,” he said.
He also said that the NICN are to interpret the provisions of Section 43 of the Trade Dispute Act, Cap T8. LFN 2004, titled “Special Provision with Respect to payment of wages during strikes and lock-outs”.
Ngige said this ”specifically dealing with the rights of during the period of any strike or lock-out.
”Can ASUU or any other union that embarked on strike be asking to be paid salaries even with clear provisions of the law.
“Determine whether ASUU members are entitled to emoluments or ‘strike pay’ during their period of strike, which commenced on Feb. 14. ”Moreso, in view of our national law as provided in Section 43 of the TDA and the International Labour Principles on the right to strike as well as the decisions of the ILO Committee on Freedom of Association on the subject,” he said.
He added that NICN should determine whether ASUU had the right to embark on strike over disputes as is the case in this instance by compelling the Federal Government to employ its own University Transparency Accountability Solution (UTAS) in the payment of the wages of its members as against the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS).
According to him, as this is universally used by the Federal Government in the nation for payment of wages of all her employees in the Federal Government Public Service of which university workers, including ASUU members, are part of.
”Or even where the government via NITDA subjected ASUU and their counterpart, Universities Peculiar Personnel Payroll Systems (UPPPS) software to integrity test (vulnerability and stress test) and they failed,” he said.
Ngigi also said the federal government further asked the court to determine the extent of fulfillment of ASUU’s demands since the 2020 Memorandum of Action (MOA) that the union signed with government.
The minister said their demands include the funding for revitalisation of public universities as per 2009 agreement, Earned Academic Allowances (EAA) payments, state universities proliferation and constitution of visitation panels, and release of white paper on the report of the visitation panels.
He noted that others are the reconstitution of the government renegotiation team for renegotiation of 2009 agreement, which was renegotiated 20132014, due for renegotiation 20182019, and the migration of ASUU members from IPPIS to its own UTAS, which is currently on test at NITDA.
”Consequently, the Federal Government requested for an order of the Court for ASUU members to resume work in their various universities while the issues in dispute are being addressed by the NICN in consonance with the provisions of Section 18 (I) (b) of the TDA Cap T8. LFN 2004,” he said.