ASUU: Falana appeals to Buhari, faults FG’s position

Femi Falana, senior advocate and counsel to the federal government, has faulted the position of the federal government on payment to university lecturers, who recently called off their eight months strike. Chris Ngige, the minister of labour and productivity, had said the government paid the October salary of members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities pro-rata. He explained that the lecturers could not be paid for work not done.

But, in his appeal, Falana urged President Buhari to ignore Ngige and pay ASUU members their full salaries from February to October.

“The position of the federal government is factually faulty and legally misleading,” he said.

“Since the industrial action was called off, the public universities have adjusted their calendars to ensure that the 2021/2022 academic session is not cancelled. Consequently, students are currently taking lectures or writing examinations that were disrupted during the strike of the ASUU.

“Therefore, having regard to the facts and circumstances of the ASUU strike the doctrine of ‘no work, no pay’ is totally inapplicable as students who were not taught during the strike are currently attending lectures and writing examinations.

“Furthermore, it is public knowledge that the members of the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) embarked on a strike that lasted two months last year. The federal government dragged the striking doctors to the national industrial court which ordered the NARD to call off the strike. As soon as the strike was called off, President Muhammadu Buhari jettisoned the ‘no work, no pay’ principle and ordered the payment of the salaries for the two months that the strike lasted.

“On that occasion, the President overruled Dr. Ngige in the interest of industrial harmony in the health sector.

“In the same vein, the ASUU recently called off its 8-month old strike in compliance with the order of the national industrial court and the court of appeal. We are therefore compelled to call on President Buhari should ignore the advice of Dr. Ngige and direct the public universities to pay the full salary of each lecturer from February to October 2022.”

To him, applying the “no work, no pay” principle is “discriminatory” and “illegal.”

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