Lawyer to the striking university lecturers, Mr. Femi Falana  yesterday night reassured  Nigerians of an end to the eight months industrial action by members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities(ASUU). Falana, who gave the reassurance while speaking on the ARISE News   Channel Prime Time programme, noted that the striking lecturers are law abiding citizens and would see how they can factor the intervention of the Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal which last week ordered ASUU to immediately go back to work before the court can consider their appeal against the judgment of the Industrial Court in Abuja.










The appellate court in a unanimous ruling last week Friday, held that ASUU must first obey the order of the Industrial Court before coming to the court for leave to appeal the judgment.











While in its immediate response last week ASUU said it would meet and study the ruling of the appellate court and after meeting with the National Assembly during the week indications emerged that the union may likely resume work next week.









Falana had stated that the union’s meeting with the lawmakers was successful and ASUU will meet Thursday to take a decision.








Speaking last night, Falana noted that although there are other alternatives to ASUU as regarding the resumption order, the union would give priority to the interest of the students.









He said:”ASUU members are law abiding. I have sent my advice and I cannot advise ASUU  to disobey the order of the court. We are going to ensure that the intervention of the court is factored in.”







Falana further hinted that as lawyers they will continue to put pressure on the government to meet all agreements, adding that all stakeholders have to go back to the drawing board to  ensure that this kind of strike can never happen again in the country.









Reacting to the position of the government on the “no work, no pay” policy, the senior lawyer noted that the situation does not arise because once the union meet and call off the strike probably next week, ASUU will make efforts to recover lost grounds by working longer hours including weekends and holidays.







He, however, charged the federal government to take the funding of education seriously, noting that the current figure of over 20 million out of school is a potential time bomb that will destroy the nation if not well handled.










Falana also noted that students in private universities locally and abroad only constitute a mere five per cent of the total students population hence the need for government to give priority to public schools.








ASUU had embarked on an indefinite strike since February 14 to protest poor funding of universities including welfare conditions amongst others.



However, due to the breakdown of negations between the federal government and ASUU, the federal government through the Ministry of Labour had dragged ASUU before the Abuja Division of the Industrial Court, seeking an order that will compel ASUU to go back to the classroom pending the resolution of disagreement that brought the strike in the first place.


Justice Hamman of the National Industrial Court had on September 21 ordered ASUU to go back to the classroom in the interest of the nation and suffering students.


But rather than comply, the striking lecturers approached the appellate court for leave to appeal Justice Hamman ‘s order as well as another request for same to be set aside.


Delivering ruling in the motions, the appellate court held that before leave would be granted, the union must first obey the order of the trial court and call off the eighth month old strike.


The appellate court held that if the union complies with the order then it should file its appeal within seven days.


As the seven days period to file its appeal draws nearer, indications are that the striking lecturers may just call off the eighth month old strike and go back to the classroom.


Although Falana had described the ruling of the court as a victory for the students who have been at home for the past eight months rather than for the government, who must do everything possible to avoid similar industrial action in the future.

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