No Governor is sponsoring our struggle, ASUSS tells teachers’ union

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Samuel Omaji

The Academic Staff Union of Secondary Schools, (ASUSS) refuted the position of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) that the Supreme Court in its January 15, 2021, refused to grant secondary schools teachers operating under the umbrella of ASUSS, the power to operate as a trade union.

ASUSS equally pointed out that the claims of the Nigeria Union of Teachers that some state governors that are not paying teacher’s salary are misleading and using some breakaway members of ASUSS to destabilize the 90-year-old union As false.

In a statement issued in Lokoja on Thursday by the National President of ASUSS, Samuel Omaji, the union has maintained that the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment or any court of competent jurisdiction has not cancelled the approval of ASUSS as a trade union as claimed by NUT in a media briefing last week.

ASUSS in a statement titled, “A WOEFUL CRY; THE AGONY OF A LOOSER” challenged the leadership of NUT to mention the governors sponsoring them, just as he described the statement of their sister union as laughable and ridiculous.

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The union said those who see ASUSS as a threat and using poor teachers’ resources to parley government officials and Institute multi-million naira litigations against their sister Union are those negotiating with the lives and welfare of teachers for their selfish interest.

“It is expedient for us to debunk the falsehoods that were projected by NUT on the Supreme Court judgment of 15th of January 2021 that is still rattling the leadership of the NUT over which they have rigorously inundated the public with different versions of interpretations through heavily sponsored media plan, including features, news items and editorials.

“It is an incontrovertible fact that the Supreme Court judgment of 15th January 2021 was in favour of Academic Staff Union of Secondary Schools (ASUSS) Nigeria as it sets aside and nullified the Court of Appeal judgment of July 11 2014. We hereby state categorically, that the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment or any court of competent jurisdiction has not cancelled the approval of ASUSS as a trade union.

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“We consider it ridiculous and laughable that NUT, a union that has been in control for almost nine decades alleging that a union such as ASUSS that has been making undeniable positive and progressive impacts in the lives of its members is being sponsored by “governors that are not paying teachers’ salary”.

“If NUT leaders are sincere, let them be bold enough to list such Governors. We stand to challenge them that how many of the repressive Governors backing NUT to suppress ASUSS right of existence are paying salary and doing well in terms of Teachers welfare? Who was sponsoring NUT when teachers were not paid for several
months across the country?

The statement further read “How does ASUSS formation and existence as Union affects NUT? The establishment of ASUSS which is legally justifiable as pointed out is a value-added to the Education sector rather than being perceived as a threat. In the tertiary education sector, all levels have their Unions. In the health sector, there are over 12 Unions and heaven has not let loose.

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“The fear of the impending doom and total loss of grips is the reason why the NUT crop of leadership has been busy fighting ASUSS while they left their members wallowing in trauma. They should never see our belief in a decent and peaceful approach to our liberation as an act of cowardice but as a way to let them realise we can peacefully coexist
and synergise for education development.

“If NUT jurisdictional scope is as what it claims, why is NUT not unionising the teachers of the Federal Government Colleges and Unity Schools, Private Primary and Secondary Schools? Is NUT not aware that the registrar of a trade union has issued a certificate of registration to teachers in private schools or is it deliberate design to misinform the public?”

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