Why ASUU Can not Be Banned

By Femi Falana SAN

Below the British colonial regime, commerce unions have been prohibited whereas strikes have been criminalised. However Nigerian staff defied the ban and fashioned commerce unions to problem the crude exploration of the nation’s sources by the international colonisers. When the British noticed the futility of the proscription the Commerce Union Ordinance of 1939 was promulgated. The regulation allowed the formation of commerce unions however outlawed strikes. However the anti strike provision of the regulation the overall strike of 1945 led by the Nigerian Railway Union below the management of Comrade Michael Imoudu paralysed the colonial financial system for days. From that second, staff resolved to be within the entrance line within the decolonisation battle. Therefore, the British resorted to brutal assaults of staff. For instance, the Enugu coal miners have been brutally attacked by the colonial police for embarking on strike for improved circumstances of service in November 1949. The murderous assault led to the loss of life of 21 colliery staff whereas a number of others have been injured. The strike provoked a nationwide condemnation which uncovered the atrocious actions of the British colonial regime.

Just like the colonialists the army dictators banned the nation’s commerce unions in 1966. However the staff defied the ban and launched into a number of strikes after the civil warfare. By 1973, the Yakubu Gowon regime discarded the anti staff coverage and promulgated the Commerce Union Act of 1973. The Olusegun Obasanjo army regime promulgated the Commerce Disputes Act of 1976. The Shehu Shagari administration didn’t ban staff however infiltrated the commerce union motion to weaken agitation by Nigerian staff. In 1992 the Ibrahim Babangida army junta wished to ban ASUU however was suggested towards it on the bottom that it might not work. So the junta enacted a decree which regarded strike as a treasonable offence. We rushed to the Lagos State Excessive Courtroom presided over by Justice M. Ope Agbe. We satisfied the Decide concerning the illegality of the obnoxious decree and his Lordship granted an order which halted the implementation of the fascistic laws.

In 1994, the Sani Abacha army junta enacted a decree which purportedly proscribed ASUU. We approached the Enugu judicial division of the Federal Excessive Courtroom presided over by Justice Ajakaiye. Once more we satisfied the court docket to smash the primitive decree. His Lordship dominated that the decree didn’t proscribe ASUU however merely restricted its actions to particular person college campuses. The regime was annoyed as ASUU didn’t function outdoors the 4 partitions of college campuses. The Babangida junta proceeded to promulgate a decree which exorcised ASUU and different senior employees from the Nigeria Labour Congress to stop them from inciting staff. The junta banned the customs and immigration employees union and jailed the leaders of the electrical energy employees unions for embarking on a strike. However the NEPA Eleven have been later granted pardon and launched from jail custody.

In 2005, the Olusegun Obasanjo civilian administration amended the Commerce Union Act by making the membership of commerce unions elective. The cost of examine dues was made voluntary whereas staff wishing to embark on industrial motion are required to conduct a plebiscite. Particular person ASUU members signed letters which directed college administration to proceed to deduct their examine off dues. In strict compliance with the related provisions of the Act, ASUU doesn’t embark on a strike with out conducting a plebiscite amongst its members in all its branches. Thus, ASUU is at the moment the very best organised commerce union in Africa.

Below the present democratic dispensation the elemental proper of residents to type or belong to political events and commerce unions is assured by part 40 of the Structure and Article 10 of the African Constitution on Human and Peoples Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act. As a member of the committee of civilised nations the Authorities of Nigeria has ratified the Freedom of Affiliation and Safety of the Proper to Organise Conference No 87 of the Worldwide Labour Group Conference. It’s pertinent to notice that events to the Conference are obligated to make sure the fitting of each employers and workers to affix an organisation of their selection and free from any affect of authorities which belong to the core ideas of the ILO.

Within the case of Olaniyan v College of Lagos (1986) 4 NWLR (Pt 34) 162 at 173, Ayo Irikefe CJN (as he then was) mentioned that, “For my part, constitutionally entrenched provisions, notably these safeguarding particular person rights mustn’t, save in a fascist system, be flippantly trampled upon.” Due to this fact, to ban ASUU the Authorities must amend the elemental proper of residents to freedom of affiliation enshrined in Chapter 4 of the Structure. It’s a particular modification which requires the decision of 4 fifths of members of the Nationwide Meeting and accepted by two thirds majority of members of not lower than 24 Homes of Meeting. As well as, the Federal Authorities will withdraw its ratification of the African Constitution on Human and Peoples Rights and the Freedom of Affiliation and Safety of the Proper to Organise Conference No 87of the Worldwide Labour Organisation. The anti-democratic forces urging the Buhari administration to ban ASUU ought to be made to understand {that a} democratic authorities lacks the competence to abrogate the elemental rights of residents outdoors the ambit of the Structure.

Those that are berating ASUU for alleged recalcitrance ought to advise the Federal Authorities to accord priorities to the funding of tertiary schooling. In any case, following the directive of the Federal Authorities the Central Financial institution of Nigeria has simply launched $235 million to international airways to facilitate international travels by just a few privileged residents. Avd whereas the Federal Authorities budgeted the sum of N443 billion for the so referred to as gas subsidy within the 2022 Appropriation Act the fund has been elevated to N4 trillion through a Supplementary Appropriation Invoice accepted by members of each chambers of the Nationwide Meeting. It’s fascinating to notice that the main points of the humongous sum weren’t scrutinised by the federal legislators. As if that was not sufficient the Minister of Finance, Mrs Zainab Ahmed has disclosed that gas subsidy will gulp N6.5 trillion this yr alone. And really quickly, the Nationwide Meeting will approve one other supplementary finances of N2.5 trillion for the monumental fraud. However in the case of funding tertiary schooling the Federal Authorities is claimed to be broke!

As an alternative of embracing the fascist choice of prescribing ASUU the Federal Authorities ought to commit itself to the trustworthy implementation of collective agreements reached with ASUU that are enforceable by advantage of the related provisions of the Commerce Disputes Act. As an example, within the 1992 and 2009 FG/ASUU Agreements it was expressly said that the income realised from the sale of the properties of the Federal Authorities deserted in Lagos when the Federal Capital was moved to Abuja can be channelled in direction of the funding of tertiary schooling within the nation. However the Federal Authorities has turned spherical to promote the properties to non-public people and company our bodies at low giveaway costs. Among the properties have been offered to highly effective people and company our bodies together with a multinational company. Since quite a lot of the properties haven’t been offered the Federal Authorities ought to flip them over to the schools consistent with the phrases of the FG/ASUU Collective Agreements.

It might additionally curiosity involved residents to know that pursuant to the 1992 Settlement the administration of the schools had registered and established consultancy corporations to deal with jobs by professionals within the educational neighborhood within the nation. However the college councils peopled by authorities appointees choose to farm out multi million Naira contracts to contractors nominated by the ruling political events. By such doubtful preparations the meagre fund earmarked for capital tasks within the universities is diverted as quite a lot of the tasks are deserted. It’s on file that some circumstances of enormous scale corruption reported to the anti graft businesses weren’t allowed to be investigated by the Federal Authorities.

The Tertiary Schooling Belief Fund instructed by ASUU and included into the 1992 FG/ASUU Settlement was enacted into regulation in 1993. Thus, the Tertiary Schooling Belief Fund Act imposes a two p.c (2%) schooling tax on the income of each registered firm in Nigeria. Regrettably, the fund is collected in a moderately haphazard method by the Federal Authorities. Despite stress from ASUU the Federal Authorities has did not get better the a number of billions of Naira from firms which have defaulted in contributing to the Fund. The Authorities has additionally refused to publish the checklist of firms which can be certified to contribute to the Fund for the aim of monitoring the gathering and updating the checklist. There are different leakages within the system which may very well be blocked by the Federal Authorities in collaboration with all commerce unions within the tertiary establishments.

Little doubt, mother and father and college students of public universities have been disenchanted and pained final week when it was disclosed that the talks between the Authorities and ASUU over the strike had collapsed. Whereas calling on each side to renew the negotiations within the curiosity of the nation the Federal Authorities ought to be prevailed upon to finish the extended industrial motion. As an alternative of partaking within the diversionary ways of blackmailing ASUU the Federal Authorities ought to be sure that the strike is known as off by signing the Renegotiated Settlement with ASUU with none additional delay.

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