CEM REPORT | Socio-economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) and five undergraduates have sued President Muhammadu Buhari and two others over what it alleged as an unlawful refusal by the Federal Government to meet the demands of the striking Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
The claimants add that the refusal has occasioned the prolonged strike action and violated their right to quality education and disrupted the duration of their education.
Joined in the suit as defendants are Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige and Attorney-General of the Federation/Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN).
The students, who are co-claimants in the suit, include Dongo Daniel Davou of Plateau State University; Oyebode Joshua Babafemi of Obafemi Awolowo University; Ejie Kemkanma of the University of Port Harcourt; Peter Itohowo Aniefiok of University of Uyo and Imam Naziru of the University of Ibadan.
In the suit, numbered NICN/ABJ/269/2022 and filed last week by their lawyer, Tayo Oyetibo (SAN), at the National Industrial Court, Abuja, the plaintiffs are seeking an order directing Buhari and Ngige to immediately implement all agreements with ASUU to end the strike action and violation of the student’s right to learning.
This situation, the applicants maintained, had aggravated existing disparities in access to university education in the country, further marginalising economically disadvantaged parents and students.
SERAP and the students want the court to declare that the “refusal of the defendants to implement the terms of the FGN-ASUU Renegotiated 2009 Agreements and the 2020 Memorandum of Action, which has occasioned the prolonged strike action is unlawful, inconsistent and incompatible with Nigeria’s human rights obligations and violates the students’ right to quality education.”
They also want a court order mandating the defendants and their agents to immediately release and pay all the withheld and outstanding remunerations, salary, allowances and other emoluments both for the period and outside the period of the current strike action to all members of ASUU.
The claimants equally seek a perpetual injunction restraining the defendants and their agents from unlawfully reneging, rescinding or refusing to implement the renegotiated FGN-ASUU 2009 Agreement and the 2020 memorandum.
No date has, however, been fixed for hearing of the suit.
Meanwhile, the Chairman of, the House of Representatives Committee on Legislative Agenda, Henry Nwawuba has promised that the lower legislative chamber would explore all avenues to address the lingering industrial action.
Speaking on the “Ninth Assembly: Role of the media on the attainment of legislative agenda” during a capacity workshop for the House of Representatives Press corps, over the weekend in Abuja, he noted that the Green Chamber would not allow the situation to degenerate.
He said the proposed intervention is consistent with the priority placed on education by the legislative agenda of the Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila-led House of Representatives.
Nwawuba, who is also deputy Chairman of, the House Committee on Niger Delta, claimed that the chamber has attained the 70 percent mark owing to milestones recorded with the enactment of key legislations like the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA), Electoral Amendment Act (2022) and increase in health budgets, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.