Nigerian Universities Academic Staff Union Chief Counsel and Chief Advocate Femi Falana has called on House Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila to apologize to union members.
The human rights lawyer also criticized the broadcaster for denying the agreement reached with ASUU.
Falana in a text sent to our correspondent explained that a member of the Federal Executive Council truncated the efforts of Gbajabiamila regarding the resolution of issues related to the strike between the government and ASUU.
ASUU President Professor Emmanuel Osodeke accused the speaker of misleading the union. However, several legislators on Wednesday came out in defense of the speaker.
However, Falana said: “It is public knowledge that the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Honorable Femi Gbajabiamila intervened in the latest strike undertaken by the Universities Academic Staff Union. The Chamber management held several meetings with relevant stakeholders. While briefing the Nigerian people on the resolution of the crisis on October 10, 2022, the Spokesperson categorically stated the following:
“We agreed with ASUU and the government on certain things that we brought to the president. I have visited the president twice. The first time we made our recommendations with the government changing some and ASUU changing some. We speak with the president. There was a pending issue that was the issue that there is no work, there is no pay. And the president asked him to suggest the recommendations and he would have one more meeting that we did on Friday after the budget.
“That meeting was even better than the first one we had with him, and Mr. President had agreed to work things out. I’m not going to talk about it now, and that he will reveal whatever it is tomorrow, Tuesday, which is tomorrow.”
And when the Federal Government turned around to renege on the controversial “no job, no pay” issue, the Speaker assured speakers on October 24, 2022 of his ability to resolve disputed issues.
According to Gbajabiamila, “The Executive’s position that it is not obliged to pay salaries to teachers for the time they spend on strike is based on the law and on the government’s legitimate interest in preventing moral hazard and discouraging disruptive industrial actions.
“However, interventions have been made to explore the possibility of partial payments to teachers. We expect favorable consideration from His Excellency, Chairman Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, who has stated his desire to do whatever is prudent and necessary to resolve all outstanding issues.”
“From the information at my disposal, the intervention of the Directorate of the Chamber to resolve the crisis was sabotaged by a member of the Federal Executive Council.
“Having been embarrassed by the circumstance, the Spokesperson should have apologized to ASUU and the Nigerian people instead of denying the agreement reached with ASUU and President Buhari on the Federal Government’s decision to pay for the period covered by the strike. The Agreement was based on the commitment of the professors to ensure that the 2021/2022 academic session was not cancelled”.