The National President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Professor Emmanuel Osedeke, has said with the ruling of the Industria Court, catastrophe, what happened in the military era will happen again on the issue of strikes.
Newsonline reports that Professor Osedeke said it was regrettable that the Federal government wants to force the university lecturers back to class without addressing the challenges affecting the education sector.
He said the implication of the court ruling and the action of the President Buhari-led Federal government is that more brain drain will hit the country as many lecturers will leave the country for other democratic nations.
Osedeke who stated this on Wednesday in a live interview on Channels TV programme added that the last time the then military government applied force in solving an industrial dispute between ASUU and the government was catastrophic.
He said, “Let me tell you the catastrophe of what has just happened. The last time this happened was during the military era.
“I can assure you, when this strike is over, a large number of our lecturers are going to migrate from this country. When you are using force to push your lecturers to class.”
Osodeke added, “First of all, they said, ‘If we owe them, if we don’t pay them, they will come and beg us.’ Seven months, it didn’t work. Our members are still alive. And then, they went to court, you want to force them. It is a catastrophe.”
While ASUU is preparing files to appeal the ruling of the industrial court, demanding that they call of the seven months strike action which started on the 14 of February 2022, the Federal government is set to mandate the vice-chancellors of universities to open schools.
This was the position of the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige on Wednesday while reacting to the industrial court ruling in favour of the federal government.
Ngige said, “If they have shown interest now, it is good and wonderful. When they bring that proposal, the Executive will not have any problem. ASUU should also know that this is a step in the right direction. And all these things have been promised to them by the Minister of Education at their last meeting with him. For me, they should do the needful and get back to the classroom.”
Stating that the government will order for immediate reopening of schools, Ngige added that negotiation with ASUU will still continue to ensure all issues are resolved.
He added, “The government would order the vice-chancellors to reopen the universities in compliance with the order of the court.
“The court ruling does not preclude us from going on with further negotiation and consultations. The pro-chancellors met Mr President and made some demands, such as topping up government offers and seeing whether there could be some bailout.
Mr President said in considering it, he will consult stakeholders. So, he is going to consult everybody.”