Charges ASUSS to embrace it to build formidable trade union
By Joseph Erunke
THE Nigeria Union of Teachers, NUT,has denied that the Supreme Court in its judgement of January, 15,2021,granted secondary school teachers operating under the umbrella of Academic Staff Union of Secondary Schools ,ASUSS,power to operate as a trade union.
The apex court’s judgement which was the result of a legal suit between NUC and ASUSS, according to the former,had made clear pronouncement that ASUSS was not registrable as a trade union.
Recall that a group of some secondary school teachers,led by one Mr. Samuel Omaji had claimed to have obtained the court’s judgment to unionize secondary school teachers in the country.
Addressing the media at its national headquarters,Abuja, Thursday, NUT insisted that contrary to the claim of ASUSS that it was granted registration, Supreme Court never granted such order.
President of NUT, Dr. Nasir Idris,reading the text of the briefing,titled:”NUT vs ASUSS: Putting the Record Straight”, through his representative and Deputy National President of NUT,Kelvin Nwankwo,said the claim of ASUSS was not only strange but also
unfounded.“The National leadership of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) unequivocally lay bare and throw light on the deliberate mischief, misinterpretation and falsehood being circulated on various print and electronic media and blog platforms: that the Supreme Court on the 15th January, 2021 delivered judgment granting secondary school teachers a new trade union known as Academic Staff Union of Secondary Schools,ASUSS; which is rather strange and unfounded.
“May we promptly state that ASUSS is not registrable as a trade union,”NUT said.
NUT explained that:”To the best of our knowledge, the subject matter on appeal is ASUSS vs NUT, which was before the Supreme Court bothering on the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court to grant the restraining order sought by the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) against the Minister of Labour and Productivity to unilaterally register a Trade Union contrary to the provisions of Ss. 3(2), 5 (4) of the Trade Union Act CAP. T14 LFN 2004.”
The text read further:”The contest of the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court to hear the Suit of Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) vs Academic Staff Union of Secondary Schools (ASUSS) was upheld by the Federal High Court Abuja, which was appealed by the ASUSS to the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court respectively. The learned Lords of the Supreme Court per His Lordship Chima Centus Nweze, JSC in his lead Judgment held:
“Under the doctrine of stare decisis, we are bound by these decisions. It follows therefore, that in the instant case, where His Lordship E. Ekanem, JCA who did not participate in the hearing of the appeal, rendered a judgment thereon, the lower court, in so far as the panel that delivered the judgment was different from the panel that heard the appeal, was incompetent.
“The appeal is therefore allowed. The judgment delivered on 9/6/2014 is a nullity and must be and is hereby set aside. Appeal No. CA/A/256/09 shall be remitted to the Court of Appeal, Abuja Division, to be heard by a different panel of that court.”
According to NUT,”The group of secondary school teachers led by Mr. Samuel Omaji making a hollow, deceptive and false claim to have obtained judgment to unionize secondary school teachers is reckless, complete falsehood and extraneous to the decisions of the Supreme Court, as well as and other relevant Labour Laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
NUT said the Federal Ministry of Labour had confirmed to it through correspondences that ASUSS was not registrable hence its position.
“A trade union or association which has not been finally registered and certificated by the Registrar of Trade Union even though it might have concluded most of the process required to obtain registration hold no claim of being a union,”NUT insisted.
“With this provision of the Trade Union Act we call on all teachers of secondary schools in Nigeria to disregard the baseless claim by ASUSS as no such matter of membership of Secondary School Teachers was before the Supreme court and the Status of NUT in unionizing teachers of primary and secondary schools remains sacrosanct and backed by the Jurisdictional Scope of trade unions as contained in the Trade Union Act CAP T.14 LFN 2004 cited above,”it advised.
Noting that it would clock 90 years of trade union practice by July 2021,the NUT said:”The leaders in the spirit of leadership have been mutually rotating her apex leadership’s position between the Secondary and Primary Schools teachers.”
“This notwithstanding, record has it that out of 15 presidents of our great Union, only two had been selected from the Primary School arm, while the others were drawn from Secondary Schools arm.
“The NUT is enjoying a robust spirit of comradeship where we peruse the welfare of our members and better conditions of service, but not which arm of the teaching industry do you belong.
“The NUT has no founder and no joiner, we have one teaching profession to build and protect little wonder in 1993 and teachers in Nigeria embarked on a nationwide protracted strike to press home the establishment of the Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria (TRCN), to regulate our noble teaching profession for all the Nigerian teachers,”it said.
The text further read:”The great NUT for over a decade had achieved the 27.5% Teachers Peculiar Allowances for teachers in Nigeria, which the teachers of Nigeria have been enjoying including the so called members of ASUSS, who have continued to reap where they did not sow. So far the NUT is contemplating putting to a stop the parasitic roles of the so called ASUSS who continue to enjoy the negotiated benefits of the NUT even when they endlessly sabotage our efforts in achieving them, what a paradox?
“The Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) will by no means be distracted from her several pursuits of the actualization of all the welfare needs of our members in the primary and secondary schools in Nigeria namely: 65 years retirement or 40 years of service age for teachers, Teachers Professional Salary Structure, Rural Posting Allowances, Subject Special Allowances, National Housing Scheme for teachers, etc in addition to the Annual Presidential Teachers Award that has formed part of annual World Teachers Day program,” it said.
“We urge all well-meaning teachers of secondary schools in Nigeria to remain law abiding and cooperate with the NUT for the prosperity of the teaching profession, education in Nigeria and the current provision of the Trade Union Act and Labour Laws. Therefore, we urge all well-meaning diligent and hardworking secondary school teachers, not to fall prey to the media stunts and ill-fated propaganda employed by the drowning leaders of the self-acclaimed ASUSS aimed at deceiving unsuspecting secondary school teachers, into believing that ASUSS is competent to unionize Secondary School teachers when they are not.
“We shall not fail in our obligations of keeping our dear and well-meaning teachers abreast of further development, as we proceed with the litigation.
“The matter is far from being over, as it remains subjudice. No matter how fast and far that the falsehood of ASUSS might have gone, the truth must catch up with it. The facts and the laws of our land are on the side of our great Union the NUT.
“Our strength lies in truth and justice to the teachers and qualitative service to the children of Nigeria, whom we have sworn to nurture and teach to become functional, well-meaning and good Nigeria and global citizens,”the NUT further said.