The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) has criticised the judgment of an industrial court which ordered the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to call off its nationwide strike.
ASUU has 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.
Several meetings between ASUU and the federal government have ended in a deadlock.
Consequently, the federal government went to court to challenge the strike.
Delivering a ruling on Thursday, Polycarp Hamman, the judge, granted the federal government’s application for an interlocutory injunction to restrain ASUU from continuing with the strike.
The judge ordered members of the union to resume work pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit.
Reacting to the judgment, Giwa Temitope, NANS national public relations officer, described the order as a betrayal of equity.
He said the court’s decision does not offer a permanent solution to the dispute and that lecturers cannot be forced to resume their duties.
“Our attention has been drawn to news of a court judgment mandating the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to call off its 7-month strike. As an association, we feel disturbed to read the news of the judgment because we believe that it betrays equity.
“Ordinarily, the federal government is not meant to have dragged ASUU to court. But, the fact that they had to drag ASUU to court is a signal that this government cannot handle the crisis. And, we want to state categorically that the court cannot force members of ASUU back to lecture theatres.
“And, as it stands today, with that court judgment, we maintain that the court has not resolved the problem and we reject the judgment in strong terms. The court could have said that the Federal Government should go and pay rather than say that lecturers who are on strike should go back to classrooms. We were expecting the court to have understood that lecturers are on contract of personal service hence, they cannot be compelled to render a service they don’t want to render.
“The only remedy to this strike action is for the Federal Government to accede to the demands of ASUU which the government willingly entered into with them and properly fund education.”