BREAKING: FG orders VCs to reopen varsities, commence lectures

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The National Universities Commission has ordered vice-chancellors to re-open universities and allow students to resume lectures.

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This was made known in a letter signed by the Director, Finance, and Accounts of the NUC, Sam Onazi, on behalf of the Executive Secretary of the commission, Professor Abubakar Rasheed.

The letter which was made exclusively available to The PUNCH on Monday was addressed to all vice-chancellors; Pro-Chancellors and chairmen of governing councils of federal universities.

“Ensure that ASUU members immediately resume/commence lectures; Restore the daily activities and routines of the various University campuses”, the letter partly reads.

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Franktalknow reports that the national industrial court of Nigeria on Wednesday ordered the Academic Staff Union of Universities to call off its ongoing nationwide strike.

ASUU had been on strike since February 14 to press home the demand for improved funding for universities, and a review of salaries for lecturers, among other issues.

Several meetings between ASUU and the Federal Government have ended in a deadlock.

Consequently, the Federal Government went to court to challenge the strike.

The government through its counsel, James Igwe, prayed the court for an interlocutory injunction restraining ASUU from taking further steps as regards the strike, pending the determination of the substantive suit.

Igwe said there was a need for the matter to be expeditiously determined to enable university students to return to school, adding that failure to call off the strike would cause irreparable damage to not only the students but also to the nation.

According to him, since the dispute between FG and lectures was already before the court for adjudication, it would be proper and in the interest of justice for the strike to be suspended.

In his ruling, Justice Hamman held that the application was meritorious and deserved to be granted by the court.

While dismissing objections ASUU raised through its lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana, SAN, the court held that the strike action was detrimental to public university students that cannot afford to attend private tertiary institutions.

“The balance of convenience tilts in favour of the applicant.

“I hold that this application is meritorious and this application is granted”, Justice Hamman ruled.

The court, thereafter, issued an order, restraining ASUU, “whether by themselves, members, agents, privies or howsoever called, from taking further steps and doing any act in continuance of the strike action, pending the hearing and determination of the suit filed.”

ASUU had since filed 14 grounds of appeal to challenge the order.