Some parents in the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, have expressed mixed reactions as the Federal Government referred the dispute with the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, to the National Industrial Court of Nigeria, NICN.
Some parents who spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria on Monday said that it was unnecessary for the Federal Government to raise a referral instrument to the NICN to settle the trade dispute, while others also blamed ASUU for the prolonged strike.
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen. Chris Ngige, had in a letter addressed to the Registrar of NICN, called for a referral instrument following the failure of dialogue between the union and the Federal Ministry of Education.
The court is to inquire into the legality or otherwise of the ongoing prolonged strike by ASUU leadership and members that had continued even after apprehension.
Mark Yohanna said, ”taking ASUU to court was a waste of time at this point the industrial court had been there, why didn’t they think of it since the beginning of the strike which had lingered for seven months.
“The issues that needed to be addressed are well spelt out by the striking lecturers before they can call off their strike, then why take them to court.
“I do not think the industrial court will address those issues, except the Federal Government will comply with the agreement entered with ASUU.
“I want to say that the government is playing with time and the future of the Nigerian children which are their responsibility to charter for their interest and welfare, ‘’he said.
Emmanuel Ejike, another parent, said that it was unfortunate that the children of the poor had lost an academic session due to the ongoing strike.
He said that the victims of such strikes were the students and their parents, while the students’ programmes would be extended, parents have been put under pressure and confusion.
“So, for me, this going to industrial court is neither here nor there, because I do not know what the aim is or what it intends to achieve,
“If their intention is to order ASUU to stop the strike, then the Federal Government would have done it earlier, is it even possible that whatever the court is going to say, the union will abide by it.
“By going to court, I think the government wants to use it to buy time, because people are not sure if the government is ready to address the issues and ASUU wants the government to be honest about them, ‘’he said.
He urged that the Federal Government should find an honest way to stop the strike rather than going to court.
Kemi Olusola, a parent, said that referring the trade dispute with ASUU to court by the Federal Government would compound the problem.
According to her, ASUU itself has said that if the Federal Government wants to resolve the issues within a day, that they have the capacity to do so.
“If government feels that the education of the Nigerian children of poor parents is paramount and important to them.
”If they believe that human capital development is critical to the development of the nation, they should do whatever it takes to resolve the issues soonest.
“ASUU is saying that they have not fulfilled the promises that they made so they cannot call off the strike until they see genuine commitment.
“I think the government should try and see it from ASUU’s point of view, because they want to save the university system in this country, ”’she said.
Mr Olusola said that no Nigerian university ranks among the first one thousand Universities in the whole.
She added, ”this should be a great concern to the Federal Government, because in the past, the public Universities do compete in the international space and also ranked very high.”
Also, Elizabeth Olajide, another parent, said it was commendable that the Federal Government had taken the striking lectures to court and that probably would make the issues resolved speedily.
According to Mrs Olajide, ”Our children have lost one year and they should not lose the second one, because the children are tired of staying at home and they are angry and almost frustrated.
“So, I think that going to this court will achieve meaningful purpose, I hope the court will find a proper way of dealing with the matter, so that everyone can have rest of mind,
“That is both the students, parents and the teachers themselves, ‘’she said.
John Osita, another parent, said that the strike was long overdue and that the Federal Government’s move was laudable.
“I am very happy with the government for finally taking such a decision, I am such that I think the court will do justice to the issues in contention.
“I am pained about this whole prolong strike and I pray that the court will resolve the dispute between the parties as quickly as possible,” he said.