JUST IN: Stop Paying Buhari, Govs, Others Salaries Till ASUU Strike Ends – Law Student Tells Court
Soohemba Agatha Aker, a Benue State University final-year law student, has filed a lawsuit against President Muhammadu Buhari, the 36 state governors, and others in Abuja’s Federal High Court over what she claims is their improper handling of the conflict between the federal government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities, or ASUU.
The plaintiff is requesting that the court halt payments to President Buhari, the governors, and all other people holding political office in the nation until the dispute has been resolved and the strike has ended.
The applicant is also requesting a similar order against the Chief of Staff to the President, the Secretary to the Government, all Senators and Members of the House of Representatives, all Ministers, Permanent Secretaries, Heads of Parastatals, and Extra Ministerial Bodies of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, all Vice Chancellors and Members of Senate of Striking Universities, along with the salaries and allowances of Striking Universities, and all Members of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (ASUU).
In the fundamental right enforcement suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/1684/2022, the applicant who said she is currently affected by the ongoing strike filed the action for herself on behalf of all students of public tertiary institutions currently affected by the nationwide ASUU strike.
In the suit filed by her counsel, Chukwuma-Machukwu Ume, SAN, the applicant listed the respondents to include the Federal Government of Nigeria, Registered Trustees of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, President of the Senate, Speaker of the House of Representatives, and the Governor of Abia State (also sued in his official capacity and in a representative capacity for all the other Governors of the 36 states of the federation).
The rest are Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC); Federation of Account Allocation Committee (FAAC); Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice (AGF); the Attorney General of Abia State (also sued in a representative capacity for all the other Hon Attorney-Generals of the Thirty-Five States of the Federation); the Vice-Chancellor (VC) of the University of Abuja (also sued in a representative capacity for all the other Vice Chancellors and the Members of the Senate of both Federal and State Universities currently participating in the ongoing ASUU Strike) and Umar Faruk (President, National Association of Nigerian Students, NANS).
The suit was filed pursuant to sections 46(1), (2) and (3) of the 1999 constitution and Article 17(1) of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act Chapter A9 (Charter 10 LFN 1990) No. 2 of 1983.
The applicant is equally seeking an order of mandamus compelling the defendants, including members of the Senate of the striking universities, to return to the first respondent their monthly salaries, allowances, and other benefits received individually or collectively from the day the industrial action of the second respondent commenced till date, pending the hearing and determination of the originating motion.
She further asked for an order of interlocutory injunction suspending the activities of 6th and 7th Respondents (RMAFC and FAAC), including payment of the monthly allocation funds to the 3rd, 4th, 5th, 8th, 9th & 10th Respondents pending the hearing and determination of the applicant’s suit.
In a supporting affidavit, she deposed to the fact that the ASUU strike has and continues to affect her adversely as her plans of graduating this academic year 2022 and applying for admission into the Nigerian Law School have been thwarted; that her tuition fees paid for this academic year will go in vain as the academic year is almost lost if nothing is done.
She stated further that her dreams of becoming a law graduate and a future lawyer are on the verge of collapsing, as her sponsor had made it clear that this year was the last year to sponsor her in school; that her mates, who are children of top politicians, are currently taking their studies uninterrupted in private universities in the country or abroad; that some of her mates have gotten pregnant due to boredom and idleness; that she is going through severe mental stress and trauma each passing day as the strike prolongs with no concrete action taken by the stakeholders concerned towards ending it.
She, therefore, asked the court to declare that refusal, failure, or neglect of the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 10th, and 11th Respondents to put an end to the lingering industrial action (strike) of the members of the second respondent is wrongful, gross failure of duty to the future of Nigeria, an act of negligence to their constitutional responsibilities and amounts to a gross violation of the Applicants’ constitutional rights to a meaningful life, association, education, and developed capacity to own functional intellectual cum physical property.
A declaration that refusal, failure, or neglect of the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 10th, and 11th Respondents to put an end to the lingering industrial action (strike) of the members of the 2nd Respondent Union (most of whose children are abroad attending the best universities) is a function of the act of discrimination in the affording of educational opportunities to their children abroad and the neglected Applicant and teeming types all over the country.
An order compelling the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 10th and 11th Respondents to immediately and forthwith inaugurate a Save the Future Think-Tank Committee of all parties herein or their representatives and other key stakeholders from all tiers of government and segments of the Nigerian societies as to map out immediate steps as to end the ongoing strike by 2nd Respondent and ensure uninterrupted academic calendar in all Nigerian tertiary institutions even in times of any of the industrial disputes in the sector.
Meanwhile, no date has yet been fixed for the hearing of the suit.
OAU Announces New Resumption Date
The management of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State, on Sunday, announced a change in the resumption date for the students of the institution.
Fidel Info reports that the management said the students were earlier expected to resume March 15, 2023, but would now return to campus on March 21, 2023.
A statement by the Public Relations Officer of the University, Mr. Abiodun Olanrewwaju, explained that the change was caused by the shift in the date for the governorship and House of Assembly elections.
“Consequent upon the postponement of the governorship and House of Assembly elections by the Independent National Electoral Commission, the university administration hereby notifies the general public, particularly students, that the resumption of academic activities earlier scheduled for March 15, 2023, has been shifted to March 21, 2023.
“Consequently, students are expected back on campus on Monday, March 20, 2023, and to resume academic activities accordingly. We wish our students a safe trip back to the campus,” the statement partly read.
UNILAG Extends Resumption Dates Following Election Postponement
The University of Lagos has said it has shifted its resumption date to Tuesday, March 21, 2023.
Fidel Info reports that A statement signed by the university stated that the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Folasade Ogunsola, approved that the resumption of academic activities be postponed to Tuesday, March 21, 2023, adding that all other activities of the university, including inaugural lectures and meetings (excluding teaching), should continue as scheduled.
It explained that the postponement of resumption to Tuesday, March 21, 2023, was due to the re-scheduling of the governorship and state House of Assembly elections from Saturday, March 11, 2023, to Saturday, March 18, 2023.
It read, “It would be recalled that the federal government had directed that students of higher institutions across the country should vacate their schools ahead of the 2023 general elections. As a result, the University Senate had approved the suspension of academic activities (teaching) from Tuesday, February 21, 2023, to Tuesday, March 14, 2023.”
“Once again, members of the university community are implored to remain safe and security conscious as well as orderly, civil and responsible in utterances and engagements, online and offline.
“Further updates would be provided as the need arises in the coming days.”
Kwara Gov Names Emir of Lafiagi, Others Board Members Of Education Trust Fund
Kwara State Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq has appointed a board for the state’s Education Trust Fund, with members drawn from great backgrounds.
Fidel Info reports that the Governor appointed philanthropist Abdulhakeem Uthman Mustapha (SAN) as the chairman of the Fund that is a strong component of the Kwara State Education Transformation Agenda (KWETA), and is designed to mobilise resources to support infrastructural development and growth in the public sector education in the state.
KWETA had been borne out of the state’s Kwara Education Futures summit in 2021. Another component of it is the KwaraLEARN, which introduces technology and improved accountability and transparency to the basic education sector.
A.U. Mustapha, as he is fondly called, is an alumnus of the Harvard Business School, Manchester Business School, Suffolk Law School, Business School Netherlands, Nigerian Law School, and Ahmadu Bello University Zaria.
He is the principal partner at the A.U. Mustapha & Co. law firm headquartered in Abuja, and is currently a member of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund’s Advisory Committee on Digital, Literacy, Productivity and Emerging Skills. He is President of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) Appeal’s Board.
He is the 2nd Vice President of the Third Estate Foundation Ilorin, a coterie of statesmen who continually discuss public issues, community development, and offer support and advice.
The Emir of Lafiagi Alhaji Mohammed Kudu Kawu, a strong advocate of eduction, is another influential member of the Fund.
Kudu is renowned for his wealth of experience in the financial sector.
Kemi Mary Adeosun, Permanent Secretary representative of the Ministry of Education Human Capital and Development, is also a member of the board as the representative of the Ministry.
Iyinoluwa Aboyeji, holder of the national honour Officer of the Order of Niger, co-founder of Andela and former managing director of Flutterwave, is also on the board of the Fund.
Iyinoluwa, general partner and co-founder of Future Africa that provides support for mission-driven innovators, is a renowned entrepreneur reputed to be one of 62 global founders of unicorns the size of Andela and Flutterwave.
Deborah Adekeye (Ph.D), a senior lecturer in the Department of Sociology, University of Ilorin, is another board member of the Fund.
The Fund will also kick-off with Oluwadamilola Fatimah Amolegbe as the Executive Secretary.
Damilola, who collaborated with the Ministry of Education on the Kwara Education Futures Summit in 2021, has worked on some of Kwara’s transformational changes in education, including KWETA and KwaraLEARN.
An alumnus of Manhattan College, New York City, and Vivian Fowler Memorial College, Lagos, Amolegbe is the founder of ‘W. Amolegbe Consulting.
She sits on the boards and is a member of Dar Al-Awqaf, Okeya Community Development Association, Okeya-Ipo 100, She Builds Lives, and Reach Nigeria, among others.
The Kwara State Education Trustfund board will grow to include more members to accommodate different demographies. The Fund can be reached at www.KWETF.NG along with its social media handles.
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