Federal Government has made U-turn on the order that Vice Chancellors and Pro-Chancellors compel striking university lecturers to return to classrooms in compliance with the National Industrial Court (NIC) judgment.
National Universities Commission (NUC) in a memo last night directed the Vice Chancellors and Pro-Chancellors to disregard the earlier memo directing immediate reopening of campuses and commencement of academic and non-academic activities.
NUC’s Director of Director, Finance and Accounts, Sam Onazi, who signed the memo on behalf of NUC Executive Secretary, Prof. Abubakar Rasheed, asked the VCs and Pro-Chancellors to await further instructions as the matter of ASUU strike.
Part of the letter read: “I have been directed to withdraw the National Universities Commission (NUC) Circular Ref: NUC/ES/138/Vol.64/135, and dated 23th September, 2022, on the subject of enforcement of NIC court judgment.
“Consequently, the said Circular stands withdrawn. All Pro-Chancellors and Chairmen of Governing Councils, as well as Vice Chancellors of Federal Universities are to please note. Further development and information would be communicated to all relevant stakeholders.”
Earlier, Rasheed, in a memo, had asked the VCs and Pro-Chancellors to ensure campuses are reopened as quickly as possible and return of normal academic and non-academic activities in the campuses as contained in the court judgment.
He also directed them to ensure ASUU members immediately resume and commence lectures, and also restore other daily activities and routines of the various University campuses.
The Secretary General of Committee of Vice-Chancellors (CVC), Prof. Yakubu Ochefu, told journalists that officials of the Committee would take a decision on the matter after a meeting.
But ASUU, in reaction had described the action as fruitless effort, stating that both the NUC and Federal Government representatives were aware that it had appealed the NIC judgment and nothing would be done by both parties till the matter is concluded at the Appeal Court.
It said Federal Government can reopen varsities but total strike continued and vowed that no one, not even the Federal Government, can cajole them to return to the classrooms when their reasons for the seven-months old nationwide strike have not been met.