15th June, 2022
By Jethro Ibileke
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), has dragged the Governor of Edo State, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, before Benin City division of the National Industrial Court, over the suspension of all union activities across all state-owned institutions of higher learning.
The government had by the order suspended activities of ASUU in the state owned universities.
Other suspended Unions include: Non-Academic Staff of Universities (NASU), Senior Staff Association of Nigeria Universities (SSANU), Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP), Non-Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics and all allied Unions operating across all state-owned tertiary institutions.
Others joined in the suit marked NICN/BEN/40/2022, Edo State government and Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice.
The Secretary to the State Government, Osarodion Ogie, had about a week ago announced government’s decision to ban union activities in all state-owned tertiary institutions.
The decision which was taken at the State Executive Council meeting in Benin City, directed “the management of AAU immediately implement a no-work-no-pay policy; declare vacant and advertise the position of any staff that refuses to resume work in line with this directive”.
Claimants in the suit filed by Kingsley Obamogie, are Dr. Cyril Oziege (Chairmen) and Dr. William Odion (Assistant Secretary) of Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), AAU chapter.
They are asking the court to determine “Whether upon the correct interpretation and construction of Section 40 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) and 35(3) of the Trade Union Act.,.Cap. T14, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, the Defendants are not bereft of power to suspend or prohibit Trade Union Activities of Ambrose Alli University (AAU), Ekpoma”.
They anchored their reliefs before the National Industrial Court Benin Division on four grounds, namely:
“A declaration that the order or directive of the defendants for the suspension of trade union activities of Ambrose Alli University (AAU), Ekpoma, is unconstitutional, illegal, null and void, and same is ultra vires the powers of the defendants.
“A declaration that the defendants have no power whatsoever to interfere or meddle with the Claimants’ exercise of their rights, as members of a registered trade union, Academic Staff Union of Universities, to engage in trade union activities at the Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma.
“An order of perpetual injunction restraining the defendants, their servants, employees and/or agents from or interfering with or intermeddling in the Claimants’ exercise of their fundamental right to engage in trade union activities at the Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma.
“An order of perpetual injunction restraining the Defendants, agents and/or privies from taking any form of disciplinary action against the Claimants on account of their trade union activities at the Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma.”