The Adjourned legal battle between the Federal Government and the Academic Union of Universities is set to resume as university students and their parents wait for bated Breath today Monday
Recalls the Federal Government has filed the suit before the National Industrial Court, seeking an order of the court to compel the lecturers to resume work.
However, the Court adjourned the suit today, Monday, September 19 for a hearing of the interlocutory application of the Federal Government.
Some of the contentious issues that led to the strike by the union include the non-release of revitalization fund, earned academic allowance, renegotiation of the 2009 Agreement, the release of white paper on visitation panel, non-payment of minimum wage arrears and the inconsistency occasioned by the use of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System, IPPIS.
The Court had previously adjourned the case twice. The first was September 16, but when the matter came up to be heard on the scheduled date, it was again adjourned by the court to September 19.
Justice Polycap Hamman said the adjournment was to enable both parties to file the necessary papers for the suit. The counsel to FG, James Igwe, had earlier asked the court to give the suit an accelerated hearing due to the urgency of the matter to enable the students to return to school.
Igwe told the court that since the matter was already in court, it would be proper for the strike to be called off, pending the determination of the suit.
As it is always said, when two elephants fight, the grass suffers. In this case, both the students and their parents/guardians have been at the receiving end of this action.
Most of the respondents, who spoke to newsmen, expressed their disapproval of the FG’s decision, a similar stand taken by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria, which faulted the FG for going to court.
Mr Raheem Saheed who recently lost his job as a banker after sixteen years of service said that all he wanted was to see his two Sons make it to the university, but the dream is receding quickly in his own eyes.
He lamented the mental depression his daughters had been passing through since the strike.
“I don’t expect anything positive to come out of it, it’s just a delay tactic by the government to buy time, seeing that it can’t meet the union’s demands. I don’t see any chance of making progress from here.
“My daughter has been at home for more than seven months waiting to resume as a first-year student but it seems the wait may linger till another year.
“It is just too much for her to bear the brunt of a failed government which cares less about its subjects”, she said.