The Federal Government has declared that nobody won or lost in the ruling of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NICN), ordering members of the striking Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to return to work.
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen. Chris Ngige, made the declaration while receiving members of the Nigerian Association of Medical and Dental Academics (NAMDA) in his office on Wednesday.
Ngige also assured that the court ruling does not preclude further negotiation between the Federal Government and ASUU.
The Minister said the government would order the vice-chancellors to reopen the universities in compliance with the order of the court.
“The government will order the vice chancellors and pro chancellors to reopen the universities in line with the court order,” Ngige said.
He added: “The ruling is in the best interest of the nation. It is a win-win situation for all of us- government, students, lecturers- all Nigerians indeed. I have just gotten the court order asking ASUU to go back to work.It is a sound judgment. It is no victor, no vanquished. You doctors in academics are for now members of ASUU, but, you are here, even though you have dissociated yourself and you are working. We want to thank you for working and teaching your students.
“The court ruling does not preclude us from going on with further negotiation and consultations. The pro-chancellors met Mr. President and made some demands, such as topping up government offers and seeing whether there could be some bailout. Mr. President said in considering it, he will consult stakeholders. So, he is going to consult everybody.”
Ngige welcomed the intervention of the House of Representatives in the ASUU imbroglio, saying he was happy that the Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila said they were going to meet the President.
He said the intervention was timely considering that the President must have also consulted some stakeholders, adding that whatever money to be put in would go into the 2023 appropriation where the National Assembly comes in.
“If they have shown interest now, it is good and wonderful. When they bring that proposal, the Executive will not have any problem. ASUU should also know that this is a step in the right direction. And all these things have been promised by the Minister of Education at their last meeting with him. For me, they (university lecturers) should do the needful and get back to the classrooms.”