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Abideen Muhammed, Lagos
The Federal Government had earlier issued a circular to all Vice Chancellors stating that striking University lecturers should not be paid but now it appears that threat is no more there.
This was contained in a statement issued by the National President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi on December 1, 2018.
“We understand that the “no – work, no – pay” circular earlier issued by the government to Vice Chancellors have been withdrawn. Our members are enjoined to be on the watch and prepare for a long drawn out struggle to salvage the University system.”, he said.
The strike which started on November 4, 2018, according to Ogunyemi is total, indefinite and comprehensive. He said: “Remember that the strike is total, indefinite and comprehensive. Therefore, there shall be no teaching in any programme, no attendance of statutory meetings ( Council, Senate, Congregation, Boards, etc), no examinations of any sort, no convocation, no inaugural lectures, no accreditation exercise, etc”.
Meanwhile, before the retraction, a human right activist, Mr Femi Falana ( SAN), on Sunday described as illegal the circular issued by the Federal Government threatening to begin to execute a no – work – no -pay policy against the striking members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities. He asked the Federal Government to withdraw the illegal circular unconditionally.
“ The implication of the judgment is that a university lecturer whose employment enjoys statutory flavour cannot be disciplined or sanctioned without being afforded the right of fair hearing by the Governing Council”, he stated.
“ With respect to the current ASUU strike, no university governing council has accused any lecturer of misconduct to warrant the seizure of salaries and allowances.
”Therefore, the Federal Government, acting through the National Universities Commission, lacks the vires to direct Vice -Chancellors to seize the salaries and allowances of striking lecturers.
“That is a decision which can only be taken by the Governing Council of each university after due process must have been observed. If the Federal Government disagrees with our position it is at liberty to pray the National Industrial Court for an interpretation of the application of the ‘ no work no pay’ rule to lecturers for participating in the ASUU strike. ”