By SUMAYYAH ADEFAKA
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has warned the Federal government against deregistering the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
In a letter addressed to the Minister of Labour, Chris Ngige, by the NLC president, Ayuba Wabba, during the week, the union said the government’s reported rejection of Annual Financial Returns and Audited Accounts of ASUU should not be a ploy to proscribe the union.
According to the NLC, which is the parent body of all workers’ unions in the country, ASUU submitted its audited report twice within the time specified by the law, but the office of the Registrar of Trade Union under the Labour Ministry rejected the report.
The NLC stated, “We understand that ASUU had responded to the directives of the Registrar of Trade Unions to submit its Annual Financial Reports and Audited Accounts within 72 hours.
“The Annual Financial Reports and Audited Accounts of ASUU as requested were submitted by ASUU to the office of the Registrar of Trade Unions, Federal Ministry of Labour in less than 24 hours, specifically on the 8th of September 2022.”
The national labour body said that should the government proscribe the union as being rumoured, the action would be a re-enactment of the dark days of the military era.
It urged the minister to direct the Registrar of Trade Unions not to be used to execute “an obnoxious plot” against Nigerian workers, especially lecturers in the universities.
“The Registrar of Trade Unions should accept the Annual Financial Report and Audited Accounts submitted by ASUU. We posit very strongly that ASUU should not be punished for demanding that the government respect the Collective Bargaining Agreements it entered with them.
“Finally, we wish to remind the government that Article 3 sub-section 2 of the ILO Convention 87 on Freedom of Association, which Nigeria ratified since October 17, 1960, provides as follows: The public authorities shall refrain from any interference which would restrict this right or impede the lawful exercise thereof,” it wrote.
ASUU has been at loggerheads with the Federal government following its refusal to suspend the strike it declared on February 14.
The seven-month-old strike has paralyzed all academic activities in most of the nation’s public universities.