It is apparent that the lingering crisis between the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) and the breakaway Academic Staff Union of Secondary Schools (ASUSS) has degenerated into a new dimension as both unions now engage in a war of words.
NUT which has been the umbrella body for all public primary and secondary school teachers in the country for almost 90 years, is insisting that it will continue to be in control of all teachers.
It insisted that the teachers in primary and secondary schools are better protected and covered by the union, and therefore no reason for any group under it to pull away.
But ASUSS on its part has vehemently disagreed with this position saying as far as it is concerned, it is already an independent separate trade union for only secondary school teachers.
The body added the members are already having a sense of belonging and arealso enjoying the dividends of a trade union.
The national president of NUT, Dr Nasir Idris, however, made it clear that ASUSS’ position would not stand.
At a news conference in Lagos recently, Dr Idris cautioned all public secondary school teachers in the country to distant themselves from ASUSS.
He alleged that the union is only spreading falsehood to make the public believe that it has won the battle against NUT, and claiming to have secured the Supreme Court’s judgment as a recognised trade union.
He said NUT would not have bothered about the claim but for the need to prevent confusion and disaffection among teachers in public secondary schools in the country.
He insists that NUT covers all teachers in public schools below tertiary levels, adding that its status would forever remain so without any faction
The vice-president of NUT, Mr Kelvin Nwankwo, who represented Idris at the Lagos event, pointed out that NUT has not failed (and will not fail) in championing the course of the nation’s public primary and secondary school teachers.
Idris even cited the approval of 27.5 per cent Teachers Peculiar Allowance, the recent upgrade by five years of retirement age to 65 years or 40 years in service and the annual National Teacher Awards, among others, as references to support the position.
He noted that there are many national officers of the union who are secondary school teachers, debunking the claim by ASUSS that it has secured the Supreme Court’s judgment in its favour.
Idris said there is no such claim in the resolution of the apex court concerning the matter that brought both of them before it.
Giving the background, Idris explained that it was NUT that originally challenged ASUSS at the High Court for parading itself as a trade union with secondary school teachers as members, adding that the court ruled in NUT’s favour.
Idris said further that ASUSS challenged the judgment at the appellate court, and then the Supreme Court.
He disclosed that the latter referred both parties to the Court of Appeal for rehearing on the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court, in the first instance on the matter.
But in its reaction, ASUSS said NUT has long lost grip over secondary school teachers, according to it, in at least 25 states of the federation.
The national president, Mr Samuel Omaji and the secretary-general of ASUSS, Mr Sola Adigun, told Nigerian Tribune that NUT has no constitutional power to determine its existence or otherwise.
They said ASUSS had already secured a Supreme Court judgment on January 15 this year to be on its own, adding that the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment also agreed to the ruling.
YOU SHOULD NOT MISS THESE HEADLINES FROM NIGERIAN TRIBUNE
Nigeria recorded a slight reduction in the number of COVID-19 infections, recoveries and deaths last week, Tribune Online analysis shows. Last week (February 14 to 20), 5,849 new cases were reported in the country, the lowest in seven weeks. The last time Nigeria recorded such a low figure was in the December 27 to January 2 week, when it reported 5,681 cases…
The Federal Government is owing the university workers, under the National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT), the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) and the Non-Academic Union of Universities and Associated Institutions (NASU), over N150 billion earned allowances…
“Please do not talk to my father. He is yet to come to terms with the death of his son. It is a most tragic experience. How does one quantify the loss of a dear brother? My brother was killed like an animal by two herdsmen. His offence was that he asked them to drive their cows off his already cultivated farmland,” Bisi Olaosepin, whose brother was hacked to death, struggled to hold back his tears as he relayed to Sunday Tribune the horrible experience that culminated in the passage of his brother…
Rays of the afternoon sun pelted her head as she fanned the embers beneath the half-cut iron drum with the smoke permeating the air. “This smoke is unbearable, Iya Maria,” said one of the three neighbours conversing under a makeshift shed about five meters away. Their voices rose and fell intermittently…
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has admonished that despite differences in religion, ethnicity, political affiliations, or other diversities, Nigerians of all generations and from all walks of life must endeavour to commit to ensuring Nigeria’s unity because the nation is stronger together than apart…