The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) and five university students have dragged President Muhammadu Buhari-led government to court following its failure to meet the demands of striking lecturers.
Making this disclosure in a statement on Sunday, SERAP asked the court to “declare unconstitutional the Federal Government’s failure to meet ASUU’s requests, which has resulted in the prolonged strike action and infringed the students’ right to excellent education.”
Defendants in the complaint include Chris Ngige, Minister of Labour, Employment, and Productivity, and Abubakar Malami, SAN, Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice.
The suit was filed in response to the Federal Government’s apparent failure to implement the agreements reached with the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and to stop the union’s seven-month-long strike, as well as the government’s threat to apply its “no work, no pay” policy.
SERAP and the students are seeking “an order directing President Buhari and Mr Ngige to immediately implement all agreements with ASUU in order to end the strike action and violation of the students’ right to quality education” in the suit number NICN/ABJ/269/2022 filed last week at the National Industrial Court, Abuja.
“The Federal Government has failed to respect, protect, promote and fulfil the right to quality education, and the right to freedom of association through the principle of collective bargaining,” according to a portion of the lawsuit that SERAP and the students’ attorney Tayo Oyetibo, SAN, filed on their behalf.
SERAP and the students claim that class disruptions jeopardize both the quality and duration of students’ education. The country’s already wide gaps in access to higher education have been made worse by this circumstance, further marginalizing students and parents from low-income families.
Newsbreak.ng had earlier reported SERAP’s plan to drag President Buhari to court over the lingering 7-month-old strike.
Already, reports have indicated that the government has instituted a lawsuit against the striking union following its refusal to call off its industrial action.
ASUU went on strike on Monday, February 14, 2022. Among several other demands, the union asked that the ASUU-FGN 2009 agreement be renegotiated and that revitalization funds be released for universities.