•Governor Yahaya Bello
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) says the Kogi State Government violated the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention by proscribing state university’s chapter of the union.
The Zonal Coordinator, ASUU Abuja Zone, Dr Theophilus Lagi, who made this known while briefing newsmen on Monday in Abuja, said the state government also violated the 1999 Nigerian Constitution.
The Abuja zone comprises University of Abuja, Federal University of Technology, Minna, Nasarawa State University, Keffi, Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida University, Lapai and Federal University, Lafia.
On July 19, Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State had proscribed activities of the ASUU in Kogi State University, Ayingba.
The Governor, who announced the proscription in Lokoja shortly after the weekly Executive Council meeting, said that the decision was with immediate effect.
He said that the state government was forced to take the decision following the refusal of the lecturers to call off their six months old strike.
Bello said that ASUU rebuffed all government efforts to persuade it to end the strike, including meeting over 90 per cent of the union’s demands.
Lagi, however, dismissed the Governor’s claim that he had paid all outstanding salaries of the university staff.
He said ASUU members in KSU had the right to associate and form unions.
“This right is clearly enshrined in the ILO Convention on Freedom of Association and the Protection for Right to Organise, which has been duly ratified by Nigeria.
“In ILO Convention 87 on Freedom of Association and Freedom to the Right to Organise, it clearly stated that workers shall have the right to organise and form trade unions and public authorities shall refrain from any interference.
“The provision of the convention is domesticated by the 1999 Nigerian Constitution and is clearly in Section 40 that every person shall not only be entitled to freely assemble or associate and in particular shall freely form or belong to trade unions and other associations for the protection of his or her interest,” Lagi explained.
He said that ASUU was an organisation of intellectuals who believed in the rule of law, adding that the union was open to dialogue with a view to resolving the problem.
The ASUU Zonal Coordinator appealed to well-meaning Nigerians traditional rulers, religious leaders, civil and public servants and esteemed students to prevail on Bello to do the needful. (NAN)