THE Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has made plans to sue the federal to court over the creation of two factional unions.
This was disclosed on Thursday morning by ASUU’s lawyer, Femi Falana, who told Channels Television that: “ASUU is going to court. It is going to be the NIC.”
Accordingly, Prof Emmanuel Osodeke, the national president of ASUU also concurred the plans on Thursday morning during his chat with Channels TV.
In confirmation, Prof Osodeke said: “He (Falana) is our lawyer. So, that is correct.”
It will be recalled that on Tuesday, the federal government had registered two factional academic unions namely the Congress of Nigerian Universities Academics (CONUA) and the National Association of Medical and Dental Academics (NAMDA).
The creation of the two factional unions came about as a result of the federal government’s inability to come to agreement in the demands of ASUU over the prolonged seven months ASUU strike.
It will be recalled that the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, had intimated the public on Tuesday that the two bodies will exist alongside ASUU, adding that the two associations will enjoy the rights and privileges accorded to other academic unions in the tertiary education system.
However, Falani, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, said the registration of CONUA and NAMDA is illegal. He said according to the Trade Unions Act, only one union is allowed to operate in every sector.
“You can’t have two trade unions in the same sector. Only a union is allowed to be registered for all academics in Nigeria.
“That is the essence of the classification of trade unions because we used to have mushrooms in the First Republic so the government restructured the unions and grouped all academics together and all non-academics together. You can’t have two or three in one field,” he said.
Falana said there is a Supreme Court judgment on the proliferation of trade unions – the Erasmus Osawe V Registrar of Trade Unions.
The senior lawyer also said the apex court ruled “that your freedom of association is not totalled; it is also regulated by the Trade Unions Act so that there will be no proliferation of trade unions”.
ASUU has been on strike since February 14, 2022, over unpaid allowances, poor welfare, and payment software, among others.