As reactions continue to trail the Federal Government’s move to proscribe the Academic Staff Union of University (ASUU), CDHR has described the move as not only unconstitutional but also hypocritical as negotiation is ongoing towards ending the lingering strike.
In a statement signed by
Comrade Idris Afees Olayinka, CDHR
National Publicity Secretary, and made available to the National Association of Online Security Reporters, NAOSRE, the association said that this is not the first time the union is proscribed.
According to them, it was proscribed twice in the history of its existence, first on August 7, 1988, and subsequently on August 23, 1992. CDHR describes the proposed action as unreasonable, ill-thought out and impracticable as this could further worsen the situation and deepen the crisis taking a cue from antecedents.
They maintained that the move is hypocritical and unreasonable because it amounts to sidestepping the legitimate concerns of ASUU, which are largely for the survival of public tertiary education in Nigeria.
Specifically, ASUU has accused the Federal Government of violating the principles of collective bargaining by rejecting the recommendations of the Professor Nimi Brigg’s Committee which was set up to renegotiate the 2009 agreement. Recall that the same Government had equally abandoned the recommendations of its preceeding Committee on the renegotiation of the 2009 Agreement. Till date, the Federal Government has been unable to respond to these serious allegations which signpost FG’s dogma and despotism in this matter being current dominant features and characterisation of this Government both in governance and industrial relations.
“CDHR draws the attention of the Federal Government to Ss 39 and 40 of the nation’s Constitution and other international industrial treaties which render Federal Government’s proposed proscription of the Union illegal, illegitimate, unconstitutional and impracticable.
The right ASUU has to exist as a union is guaranteed under Section 40 of the 1999 Constitution and Article 10 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act and would require fundamental constitutional amendments to contemplate the ill-fated idea of proscription.
“Similarly, the freedom of association and protection of the right to organise convention No. 87 of the International Labour Organisation Convention completely prevent the Federal Government from banning or suspending trade unions having duly subscribed to the convention.
“The ILO Convention guarantees the principle that parties to the convention are obligated to ensure the right of both employers and employees to join an organisation of their choice and remain free from any influence of authorities.
“In addition, the Federal Government will have to withdraw its ratification of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise Convention No 87 of the International Labour Organisation before it could toy with such dubious idea.
“CDHR, however, calls the attention of the Federal Government to desist from this diabolical move to proscribe the Academic Staff Union of University but rather be advised to face the realities, intensify efforts to meet the union’s demands and put the nation’s public universities on a pedestal that would enable them compete globally.
“In the unlikely event that the Federal Government continues to nurse the impracticable idea of proscribing ASUU, CDHR will have no option than to mobilise and join forces with other patriotic and progressive formations in the country to resist this unholy move.”