The government of President Muhammadu Buhari has reacted to the Industrial Court of Nigeria (NICN) ruling that ordered the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to return to class.
In response to the development, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, stated that the National Industrial Court of Nigeria ruling had no winners or losers, adding that President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration will direct Vice-Chancellors to re-open universities following the court’s order.
Ngige assured members of the Nigerian Association of Medical and Dental Academics (NAMDA) at his Abuja office on Wednesday that the court ruling does not preclude further negotiations between the Federal Government and ASUU.
Olajide Oshundun, a spokesperson for the ministry, cited the minister as stating that “The decision is in the greatest interest of the country. Everyone benefits, including the government, the students, the professors, and all Nigerians in general.”
“I have just gotten the order of court asking ASUU to go back to work. It is a sound judgment. It is no victor, no vanquished. You doctors in academics are for now members of ASUU, but, you are here, even though you have dissociated yourself and you are working. We want to thank you for working and teaching your students.
“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 would consult stakeholders. So, he is going to consult everybody.”
Ngige applauded the House of Representatives involvement in the matter and expressed satisfaction that Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila had promised that the members would meet with the President.
He added that any additional funds would be added to the 2023 appropriation, where the National Assembly would have a role, and that the intervention was reasonable given that the President must also have contacted some stakeholders.
“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 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,” the minister stated.