Academic Union drags Edo Govt to court over ban on union activities

By Deborah Coker
The Ambrose Alli University (AAU) Ekpoma branch of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), has dragged the state Governor, Godwin Obaseki, Edo Government and the Attorney General of the state to court over last week’s ban on union activities in the state-owned tertiary institutions.

The union filed an originating summon in Suit No NICN/BEN/40/2022 before the Benin Division of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria.

The Chairman and Assistant Secretary of the union, Dr Cyril Oziegbe Onogbosele and Dr William Odion, asked the court to determine whether the government and other defendants had the power under section 40 of the Constitution of 1999 (as amended) and the Trade Unions Act, to suspend or prohibit trade union activities in the institution.

They said in the event that the parts of the constitution did not give such powers to the defendants, the court should declare the defendants’ order on the ban of ASUU activities in the institution as unconstitutional, illegal, null and void and same is ultra vires of the powers of the defendants.

They also want an order of perpetual injunction restraining the defendants, their servants, employees and/or agents from interfering with or intermeddling in the claimants’ exercise of their fundamental right to engage in trade union activities at AAU.

The claimants further sought an order of perpetual injunction restraining the defendants, their servants, agents and/or privies from taking any form of disciplinary action against them on account of their trade union activities at the institution.

The state government had, following a protest by students of AAU over the lingering nationwide strike by ASUU, suspended all union activities across state-owned institutions of higher learning.

The government listed unions affected by the ban to include ASUU, Non Academic Staff of Universities (NASU), Senior Staff Association of Nigeria Universities (SSANU), Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP), Non Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics, and all allied unions operating across state-owned tertiary institutions.

No date has, however, been fixed for hearing. (NAN)