The embattled members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, in Edo State-owned Ambrose Alli University, AAU, Ekpoma, has described as “condemnable” the suspension of activities of the union by the state government.
The state governor, Godwin Obaseki, Wednesday evening after the state’s security council meeting, ordered the striking workers of all government-owned tertiary institutions to return to work immediately and suspended activities of all the unions.
In a statement, Secretary to the State Government, Osarodion Ogie, listed the affected unions as: ASUU, the Non-Academic Staff of Universities, (NASU) Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities, (SSANU) Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics, (ASUP) Non-Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics, NASUP, and all allied unions operating across all state-owned tertiary institutions.
But reacting to the development, chairman of ASUU, AAU, Cyril Onogbosele, contended that the state government had no power to ban the union’s activities, ASUU being a legal trade union with right of association.
According to Onogbosele, “We have seen the release banning the activities of unions in the state institutions, including ASUU. ASUU is a legal trade union and we have right of association in the eye of the law; so, on what basis is he banning union activities because student protested because the union is on strike?”
He explained that the union was on strike over the 17 months salaries owed members, and that the school management was duly notified.
“So, is he saying we don’t have the right to say pay us and go on strike? What is illegal in the activity that we have carried out? Is strike not recognised by law to pressurise employer to address the issues?, he queried.
Onogbosele insisted that the state government cannot stop ASUU as a union being a chapter of the national body duly registered with a licence.
“These are the views of the union and the action is condemnable. If there are issues you resolve it with the union and not banning the union activities because you don’t want to resolve the issues” he said .