Following ruling of the National Industrial Court mandating members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to return to classrooms, the Federal Government has mandated Vice-Chancellors of its institutions to re-open varsities and ensure lectures commence immediately.
The central government through the National Universities Commission (NUC) said that the school heads should also communicate the resumption of classes to students to cover for the missed time.
The new directives to the institution heads were made through a letter signed by the Director, Finance, and Accounts of the NUC, Sam Onazi, on behalf of the Executive Secretary of the commission, Prof. Abubakar Rasheed.
The letter on Monday was addressed to all vice-chancellors; Pro-Chancellors and chairmen of governing councils of federal universities.
“Ensure that ASUU members immediately resume/commence lectures; Restore the daily activities and routines of the various University campuses”, the letter partly reads.
As gathered, the order was issued by the apex government since there was no superior judgement to that made by the industrial court barely five days ago.
The striking lecturers had filed an appeal against the ruling, but the court was yet to commence sitting on their request, stating reasons they cannot return to work.
ASUU had been on strike since February 14 to press home the demand for improved funding for universities, and a review of salaries for lecturers, among other issues.
Worried by the prolonged industrial action, the federal government dragged the body before the court, asking that they should be compelled to return to work.
During the sitting, counsel to the Federal Government James Igwe, prayed the court to order the striking varsity lecturers to in the interim, return to work, pending the determination of the substantive suit before the court.
“Sections 47 of the Trade Dispute Act, TDA, gives your lordship the power to direct that no worker should continue to embark on strike pending when the applications are heard and determined”.
Ruling in the central government’s favour, Justice Hamman held that the application was meritorious and deserved to be granted by the court.
While dismissing objections ASUU raised through its lawyer, Femi Falana, the court held that the strike action was detrimental to public university students that cannot afford to attend private tertiary institutions.
“The balance of convenience tilts in favour of the applicant. I hold that this application is meritorious and this application is granted”, he added