Following the order by the National Industrial Court (NIC) directing the suspension of its seven months old strike, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has said it is set to appeal the order.
The union in a terse statement sent to the members on Wednesday by the Chairman of Lagos Zone of ASUU, Adelaja Odukoya, urged its members to “remain calm,” as its lawyer was already filing an appeal.
Renowned human rights activist, Femi Falana, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), is the counsel to ASUU.
The statement by ASUU is titled; “NIC Back to Work Order on ASUU: Be Calm.” It urged members and Nigerians to remain united, even as it suggested that the order would be vacated.
The statement reads in part; “Our Comrade President, Comrade Victor Osodeke, has urged members of our Great Union to remain calm as there is no cause for alarm on the back to work order delivered earlier today.
“Our lawyer is filing an appeal and stay of execution of the judgment. Members should remain resolute and strong. A people united can never be defeated. Solidarity without compromise.”
Meanwhile, the leadership of the National Association of Nigerian Students and the National Coordinator of Education Rights Campaign (ERC), Hassan Soweto, have reacted to the industrial court order.
Mr Soweto described the court verdict as unfair and shameful, saying it is a confirmation of his belief that “the judiciary is simply an arm of the apparatus of the capitalist state, just as the police and the army.”
He called on the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) to declare a 48-hour nationwide warning strike in reaction to the court order.
He said the Nigerian court’s role “is to defend the interest of the corrupt ruling elite who are busy stealing the money required to fund public education.”
He said; “At this stage, all we can say is that our solidarity with ASUU on its resolve to fight for adequate funding of public universities remains unshakeble despite this court order.
“We urge the NLC and TUC not to allow the government use the court to frustrate the legitimate struggle of ASUU. We call on the labour movement to respond to this unfair court order by escalating action into a 48 hour warning general strike and mass protest.”