Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma in Edo State have sued the state governor, Godwin Obaseki, Edo State Government and the attorney general of the state to court over last week’s ban on all unions’ activities in all the state owned tertiary institutions.
In an originating summons in Suit No NICN/BEN/40/2022 before the Benin Division of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria, the chairman and assistant secretary of ASUU,
Dr Cyril Oziegbe Onogbosele and Dr William Odion, respectively, who are claimants in the suit want the court to determine whether the state government and others who are the defendants have the power under section 40 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) and section 35(3) of the Trade Unions Act, Cap. T14, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, to suspend or prohibit trade union activities in AAU.
They said in the event that the parts of the constitution does not give such powers to the defendants, the court should declare their order on the ban of ASUU activities as
“unconstitutional, illegal, null and void and same is ultra vires the powers of the Defendants.”
They 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 Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma.
“An order of perpetual injunction restraining the Defendants, their servants, agents and/or privies from taking any form of disciplinary action against the Claimants on account of their trade union activities at Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma.”
The state government had, following a protest by students of AAU over the lingering nationwide strike by ASUU suspended all union activities across all state-owned institutions of higher learning.
It said the affected unions 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 all state-owned tertiary institutions. No date has been fixed for hearing.