ASUU sues FG over alleged discriminatory treatment of members – Newstrends
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ASUU sues FG over alleged discriminatory treatment of members

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ASUU sues FG over alleged discriminatory treatment of members

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has filed a lawsuit against the Federal Government over discriminatory, unfair and illegal treatment of its members.

A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Femi Falana, filed the suit on Tuesday at the National Industrial Court in Abuja, the nation’s capital, on behalf of ASUU.

Joined in the suit as defendants are the former ministers of Labour and Employment and Justice as well as the Accountant General of the Federation, according to a statement made available to Channels Television on Wednesday.

In the suit with number NICN/ABJ/152/2023, the human rights lawyer is asking the court to determine “Whether having paid the salaries of members of the Joint Staff Union, National Association of Resident Doctors and lecturers in the Medical Facilities/Medical and Dental Academic of the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Nnewi Campus, Anambra State during the period of industrial actions, the decision of the Defendants to withhold the salaries of the members of the Claimant from February to October 2022 is not discriminatory and illegal.”

He also wants the court to determine “whether the members of ASUU are not entitled to payment of their salaries for the months of February to October 2022 forthwith.”

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“Lecturers’ duties cover the following areas: Seminars (Peer-review of Journals, Serving of Professional bodies, Public Lectures, Serving on board of Parastatals); Research (Gathering data, Reading new Books and Journals, Writing and Publishing Scholars text); Teaching,” the suit reads in part.

“Owing to the refusal of the Defendants to implement the agreements between them and the Claimant, a trade dispute was declared by the Claimant in February 2022.

“The industrial action which resulted from the series of breaches emanating from the defendants herein does not abrogate our responsibilities as lecturers which includes paper administration, delivered lectures, seminars, tutorials, that should have been done during the withdrawal of the teaching component of our jobs, course evaluation, Peer evaluation, marking and moderating assignments, write course content, etc).

“Despite the withdrawal of teaching, the provision of educational services which cover other aspects of our engagement as academics (i.e research and community service) subsists across the public universities in Nigeria.

“The federal government failed to address the demands of the Claimant, the industrial dispute lasted until October 2022. The teaching component of our job was restored based on the orders made by this Honourable Court and the Court of Appeal.

“The Minister of Labour and Employment specifically instructed the Accountant-General of the Federation not to pay the members of ASUU members for the period of the industrial disharmony.

“The members of Joint Health Staff Union were on strike from March to May 2018 but the Defendants paid their salaries for the period of the strike. The members of the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors were on strike between September and October 2021 but the Defendants paid them their salaries for the period of the strike.

“Despite repeated demand the Defendants have refused to pay the salaries of members of the Claimant who took part in the strike that took place from February to October 2022.

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“The 1st Defendant, who is a medical practitioner and hails from Anambra State, South East Nigeria directed the 3rd Defendant to pay all lecturers of the Medical Facilities / Medical and Dental Academic of the Nnamdi Azikwe University, Nnewi Campus, Anambra State to the exclusion of members of the Claimant in other public universities in Nigeria.

“The lecturers of the Medical Facilities / Medical and Dental Academic of the Nnamdi Azikwe University, Nnewi Campus, Anambra State participated in the industrial action of the Claimant that lasted from February to October 2022.

“Majority of the lecturers of the Medical Facilities / Medical and Dental Academic of the Nnamdi Azikwe University, Nnewi Campus, Anambra State are indigenes of Anambra State like the 1st Defendant.The 1st Defendant ordered the 3rd Defendant to pay the salaries of the lecturers of the Medical Facilities / Medical and Dental Academic of the Nnamdi Azikwe University, Nnewi Campus, Anambra State because of the circumstances of their birth.

“Owing to the refusal of the Defendants to implement the agreements between them and the Claimant, a trade dispute was declared by the Claimant in February 2022. Pursuant to the said trade dispute, the members of the Claimant embarked on a strike in February 2022. The strike was eventually called off in October 2022 based on the orders made by this Honourable Court and the Court of Appeal.

“The members of Joint Health Staff Union who were on strike from March to May 2018 were paid their salaries for the period of the strike. The 2nd Defendant ensured the payment of the health because of the fact that he is a medical doctor. The 2nd Defendant equally ensured the payment of the salaries of the members of the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors who were on strike between September and October 2021 because they are professional colleagues of the 2nd Defendant.

“The Defendants have subjected the members of the Claimant who took part in the strike that took place from February to October 2022 to discriminatory treatment by refusing to pay their salaries for the period of the strike.”

“Equality of opportunity and treatment in employment and occupation is a germane aspect of the overall principle of equality, which is now a universal norm. It is one of the most fundamental principles underlying any democratic society and is set forth in many international instruments, national constitutions and laws.

“The decision of the Defendants to withhold the salaries of the members of the Claimant who took part in an industrial action from February to October 2022 is discriminatory by virtue of Section 42 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended and Article 2 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act 2004.

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“It is submitted with respect that Sections 42 and 14 of the 1999 Constitution as amended contains anti- discrimination clauses prohibiting selective and discriminatory application of laws and policies in favour of a particular group, section or sex to the prejudice of others.”

“In order to promote industrial harmony the Defendants decided to pay the salaries of health workers and resident doctors who were on strike between March and May 2018 as well as between September and October 2021 respectively.

“The 1st Defendant instructed the 3rd Defendant to pay the salaries of the members of the Claimant in medical faculties/medical and dental academics of the Nnamdi Azikwe University, Nnewi Campus, Anambra State.

“But without any legal justification, the Defendants have refused to pay the salaries of the members of the Claimant who took part in the industrial action that took place from February to October 2022 the Defendants have subjected the members of the Claimants to discrimination contrary to section 42(1) of the Constitution.

“Having paid the members of the Joint Health Staff Union and lecturers of the faculties/medical and dental academic of the Nnamdi Azikwe University Nnewi Campus Anambra State during the period of their strikes, the Defendants are under a legal obligation to order the payment of the salaries of the claimant’s members during that strike that lasted from February to October 2022.

“The Defendants’ recondite refusal to pay members of the Claimant having paid members of other unions that embarked on industrial action under the same circumstances contravenes section 42 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), Articles 2 and of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act and other international treaties against discrimination.”

“It is submitted that the members of the Claimant and the members of the joint Health staff union, National Association of Resident Doctors as well as lecturers of the Nnamdi Azikiwe University are entitled to equal treatment. By paying the members of the Joint Health Staff Union, National Association of Resident Doctors and lecturers of the Nnamdi Azikiwe University during their strikes and denying the members of the Claimant their salaries during their strike the Defendants have violated Section 42(2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended and Article 2 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights Act (Cap A9).”

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Suspected Boko Haram insurgents abduct judge, wife, others in Borno

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Police Public Relations Officer in Borno, ASP Kenneth Daso

Suspected Boko Haram insurgents abduct judge, wife, others in Borno

On Monday afternoon, suspected Boko Haram terrorists abducted Justice Haruna Mshelia, a High Court judge, along with his wife, driver, and orderly on the Damaturu-Kamiya-Buratai-Buni-Gari Road in Borno State.

Justice Mshelia was returning to Maiduguri, where he serves at the Borno State High Court, when the incident occurred.

Sources indicate that armed men intercepted the judge’s vehicle by emerging from the bush and blocking the road. Despite an attempt to escape, the vehicle was stopped by another group of insurgents. The abductees were then taken into the notorious Sambisa Forest, a known Boko Haram stronghold.

This route is the sole connection between southern Borno and other parts of the state, making it a vulnerable target for such attacks.

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Unfortunately, incidents like this are all too common in the region. Recently, a Boko Haram ambush on military vehicles resulted in the death of a lieutenant and injuries to other soldiers.

The Borno State Police Command has confirmed the abduction. ASP Nahum Daso, the state’s police spokesman, reported receiving information about the incident from Sani Audu through the Divisional Officer of Biu.

Despite no contact with the terrorists yet, police are implementing all necessary security measures to ensure the safe rescue of Justice Mshelia, his wife, driver, and orderly.

The community remains on edge as security forces intensify efforts to combat the persistent threat posed by Boko Haram in the region.

Suspected Boko Haram insurgents abduct judge, wife, others in Borno

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JUST IN: Customs officer dies at Reps committee hearing

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JUST IN: Customs officer dies at Reps committee hearing

A senior Customs officer appearing before the House Committee on Public Accounts developed health complications on Monday, June 25, and died at the National Assembly clinic.

The official, whose name could not be identified immediately, was rushed to the National Assembly clinic where first aid responders were said to have attended to him, but could not survive.

The spokesman of the House, Akintunde Rotimi, confirmed the development but said the name of the Customs officer was being kept confidential as a sign of respect for his family.

Rotimi in the statement said: “It is with deep sadness and regret that we confirm the passing of an esteemed official of the Nigeria Customs Service who was at the National Assembly for an engagement with a House Committee.

“During the engagement, which occurred around 1.00 pm on Tuesday, June 25, 2024, the official developed sudden health complications. Despite the immediate and diligent efforts of first responders and medical personnel at the National Assembly Clinic, he unfortunately passed away.

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“Out of respect for the family, the official’s name will not be disclosed at this time.

“The House of Representatives extends its heartfelt condolences to the family, friends, and colleagues of the deceased during this difficult time. We recognize the significant contributions he made to the Nigeria Customs Service and our nation.

“The House of Representatives stands ready to support efforts to understand the circumstances surrounding the incident and is cooperating fully with all relevant authorities to ensure all necessary protocols are followed.

“The speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Abbas Tajudeen, PhD., expressed his condolences, stating, “We are deeply saddened by the sudden loss of a dedicated public servant. Our hearts go out to his family during this difficult time.”

He said further information will be provided as it becomes available while asking for patience and respect for the privacy of the family during this period of mourning.

JUST IN: Customs officer dies at Reps committee hearing

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Seven die in Lagos-Ibadan Expressway auto crash

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An accident scene File Photo

Seven die in Lagos-Ibadan Expressway auto crash

At least seven people have lost their lives in a fatal road accident on the busy Lagos-Ibadan expressway.

Eleven other persons suffered varying degrees of injuries in the auto crash that happened on Monday night at about 9:33pm in the Ogere axis of the highway.

The accident, which was said to have been caused by over speeding, involved a Mazda bus with registration number MNY894 and a truck with no number plate.

The Mazda bus, due to excessive speed reportedly lost control and crashed into the truck from behind.

The Spokesperson of Ogun State Sector Command of Federal Road Safety Corps, Florence Okpe, confirmed the development on Tuesday.

In a statement made available to journalists, Okpe disclosed that the injured were taken to PATMAG Hospital Ogere for medical attention.

He added that the corpses of the dead were deposited at FOS morgue Ipara.

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The statement partly reads “The crash occurred at 2133 hrs last night with a total of 18 persons involved which comprised 15 male adult and 03 female adult.

“A total of 11 people were injured (09 male adult and 02 female adult) while 07 Persons were recorded dead from the crash. 05 male and 02 female.

“Vehicle involved 02 a truck with no registration number and a Mazda bus MNY894 YN”.

“The suspected cause of the crash was excessive speed on the part of the Mazda bus driver who rammed a moving truck from the rear.

“The injured victims were taken to PATMAG Hospital Ogere for medical attention while the corpses were deposited at FOS morgue Ipara”

The Ogun FRSC Sector Commander, Anthony Uga, has cautioned motorists to stick to the speed limit especially at night and during the rain due to poor visibility.

Uga who sympathised with the family of the crash victims advised passengers to always be on alert and call the drivers to order when driving against the traffic laws

He urged them to always call 122 toll-free number to report such reckless drivers

Seven die in Lagos-Ibadan Expressway auto crash

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