One hundred and twenty lecturers at the Kogi State University Anyigba (KSU) who had their appointments terminated on the heels of the proscription of the local branch of the Academic Staff of Union of Universities (ASUU), have dragged the state government before the National Industrial Court, Abuja Division.
Joined in the action challenging their sack was the Attorney-General of Kogi State.
In suit No: NIC/ABJ/304/2017, and instituted at the National Industrial Court, Abuja Division, the ASUU-KSU, led by the Acting Chairperson, Dr. Daniel Oluwagbemiga Aina, is seeking redress over some contentious issues, including the proscription of the union and the termination of their appointments.
The names of the lecturers were listed in the suit.
Aina, at a press conference in Lokoja, said it was beyond Governor Yahaya Bello to prescribe the union.
Reading from a text titled: “Towards Ending Impunity in Kogi State University”, he accused the Governor of rebuffing efforts to resolve the impasse between the government and the striking lecturers, and warned against what he described as the imminent collapse of the state-owned institution.
“For the past three months, we were being pushed, pressed, oppressed and persecuted. We have prevailed to absorb all in our stride, hoping that the voice of reason, sanity and legalism will prevail across the strata of our tormentors. Many have wondered and even castigated us for not hitting the court long ago. We offer you some of the principles of the Academic Staff Union of Universities: we act, not react; we always explore every amicable means of resolution, not destroy.
“The government of Kogi State, the Governing Council and management of Kogi State University Anyigba have taken steps which violate our fundamental human right and flouted the rules and regulations governing our contractual intercourse with the university.
“We thought it is common knowledge that proscription of a trade union is beyond the jurisprudence of an executive governor. We have given time for this error to be corrected. The Nigerian Labour Congress made an attempt to wade into the matter, highlighting its illegality, but it was rebuffed. Twice we were at the office of the Honourable Minister for Labour and Productivity, Dr Chris Ngige in his bid for reconciliation but, the government of Kogi State never showed up.
“ASUU has made a request to have audience with his Excellency, the Governor of Kogi State in a bid to finding a common ground for reconciliation, which was equally dishonoured out rightly.
It must be noted that while ASUU was in a protracted strike of seven months, no move was ever made by the government of Kogi State or the Governing Council to reach a common ground.
“Finally, ASUU has gone to court to seek for redress for the proscription of ASUU-KSU and the termination of the appointment of one hundred and twenty (120) academic staff members.
“It is pathetic and unfortunate that taking a cursory look at the list of the purportedly sacked lecturers, identifying the courses they teach, the reallocation of such courses and identifying those who are assigned to teach those courses, it is crystal clear that the ‘one ready to kill has met the one ready to die’, while not knowing that there is no one to bury.
“Unethical practices are done with imminent colossal damage in an effort to create the impression that all is well within the system”, he stated.