The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has filed a lawsuit against the Federal Government over discriminatory, unfair and illegal treatment of its members.
A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Femi Falana, filed the suit on Tuesday at the National Industrial Court in Abuja, the nation’s capital, on behalf of ASUU.
Joined in the suit as defendants are the former ministers of Labour and Employment and Justice as well as the Accountant General of the Federation, according to a statement made available to Channels Television on Wednesday.
In the suit with number NICN/ABJ/152/2023, the human rights lawyer is asking the court to determine “Whether having paid the salaries of members of the Joint Staff Union, National Association of Resident Doctors and lecturers in the Medical Facilities/Medical and Dental Academic of the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Nnewi Campus, Anambra State during the period of industrial actions, the decision of the Defendants to withhold the salaries of the members of the Claimant from February to October 2022 is not discriminatory and illegal.”
He also wants the court to determine “whether the members of ASUU are not entitled to payment of their salaries for the months of February to October 2022 forthwith.”
“Lecturers’ duties cover the following areas: Seminars (Peer-review of Journals, Serving of Professional bodies, Public Lectures, Serving on board of Parastatals); Research (Gathering data, Reading new Books and Journals, Writing and Publishing Scholars text); Teaching,” the suit reads in part.
“Owing to the refusal of the Defendants to implement the agreements between them and the Claimant, a trade dispute was declared by the Claimant in February 2022.
“The industrial action which resulted from the series of breaches emanating from the defendants herein does not abrogate our responsibilities as lecturers which includes paper administration, delivered lectures, seminars, tutorials, that should have been done during the withdrawal of the teaching component of our jobs, course evaluation, Peer evaluation, marking and moderating assignments, write course content, etc).
“Despite the withdrawal of teaching, the provision of educational services which cover other aspects of our engagement as academics (i.e research and community service) subsists across the public universities in Nigeria.
“The federal government failed to address the demands of the Claimant, the industrial dispute lasted until October 2022. The teaching component of our job was restored based on the orders made by this Honourable Court and the Court of Appeal.
“The Minister of Labour and Employment specifically instructed the Accountant-General of the Federation not to pay the members of ASUU members for the period of the industrial disharmony.