Updated: Nigerian Government withdraws directive to VCs to reopen Universities

*The National Universities Commission has withdrawn its earlier order to the Vice-Chancellors of Federal Universities to reopen the  institutions for lecturers to  commence academic activities immediately

Gbenga Kayode |  ConsumerConnect

The Federal Government has withdrawn the earlier order mandating Vice-Chancellors (VCs) to reopen Federal universities in the West African country.

ConsumerConnect reports the National Universities Commission (NUC), in an earlier circular issued Monday, September 26, 2022, had mandated VCs, pro-chancellors, and Governing Councils to re-open the universities, following over seven months of closure due to the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) strike.

Why the withdrawal of order?

However, the NUC again, Monday issued another circular, titled: NUC/ES/138/Vol.64/136 to withdraw the order to reopen the Federal Universities immediately.

The regulatory Commission did state the rationale behind the latest decision.

Sam Onazi, Director of Finance, and Account at the NUC, signed and issued the fresh letter titled, “Withdrawal of circular NUC/ES/138/Vol.64/135 dated September 23, 2022”.

Onazi stated: “I have been directed to withdraw the NUC Circular Ref: NUC/ES/138/Vol.64/135, and dated September 23, 2022, on the above subject.

“Consequently, the said circular stands withdrawn. All pro-chancellors and chairmen of governing councils, as well as vice-chancellors of federal universities, are to please note.”

The NUC also said: “Further development and information would be communicated to all relevant stakeholders. “Please, accept the assurances of the Executive Secretary’s warmest regards.”

On the previous directive to VCs

Sequel to the recent court order directing the striking University lecturers to suspend their industrial action and resume classes, the Federal Government through the National Universities Commission (NUC) has directed Vice-Chancellors (VCs) to the reopen universities and resume academic activities.

Onazi had stated this in a letter on behalf of Abubakar Rasheed, Executive Secretary of the Commission.

The NUC stated in the letter to VCs, “Ensure that ASUU members immediately resume/commence lectures; Restore the daily activities and routines of the various University campuses.”

The regulatory Commission that  addressed to all Vice-Chancellors, Vice-President and Chairmen of Governing Councils of Federal universities in Nigeria.

The directive to the VCs resulted from the continued industrial action by the ASUU, and noted that the public universities shut since February this year.

Members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) have embarked on strike over poor welfare packages and some unpaid entitlements.

Consequently, the National Industrial Court (NIC), in Abuja recently ordered the lecturers to suspend their seven-month strike and return to the classrooms.

However, ASUU later filed an appeal over the ruling.

Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), Counsel for the academic. Union, stated the lecturers based the appeal on 14 grounds.

The motion is seeking two reliefs which are:

A) The leave to file the appeal pursuant to Section 243 of the Constitution that requires the party to seek a leave of court to appeal the judgement or ruling of the National Industrial Court (NIC).

B) Seeking for a stay of execution of the orders of the court, pending the hearing and determination of the appeal.

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