Nigeria: FG retracts order directing reopening of varsities

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WorldStage Newsonline– The Federal Government of Nigeria, through the National Universities Commission (NUC) has recalled an earlier directive to Vice Chancellors of public universities to reopen the institutions in obedience to an order of the National Industrial Court.

Recall that NUC, in a letter signed by the Commission’s Director of Finance and Accounts, Mr Sam  Onazi, on behalf of the Executive Secretary, Prof. Abubakar Rasheed, had earlier on Monday directed the reopening of universities.

A letter was however issued again to all Pro-Chancellors and Chairmen of University Councils as well as Vice-Chancellors of federal universities, on Monday, ordering the withdrawal of its earlier circular with REF: NUC/ES/138/VOL.64/135 which mandated the institutions to reopen.

The letter was titled “Re: Forwarding of Court Judgement and Enforcement of Order by the National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NICN) in Suit No. NICN/ABJ/270/2022: Withdrawal of Circular ref: NUC/ES/138/VOL.64/135 dated 23rd September 2022.

“I have been directed to withdraw the National Universities Commission (NUC) Circular Ref: NUC/ES/138/Vol.64/135, and dated 23 September 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 Consequently, the said Circular stands withdrawn.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 further development and information would be communicated to all relevant stakeholders,” the letter read.

The Federal Government had issued a circular to all Vice-Chancellors of public universities and attached a “self-explanatory letter Ref. FME/LU/HQ/S/1094/22/T/29, dated 23rd September, 2022 and the Enrolment Order of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NICN) on the above referenced Suit, as directed by the Honourable Minister of Education.”

However, in another letter retracting the directive, Onazi, on behalf of the Executive Secretary of the NUC, said the initial circular stood withdrawn and that all Pro-Chancellors, VCs of Federal Universities were to wait for further developments or information which would be communicated to them in due course.

Recall that ASUU had commenced an indefinite strike since February 14, 2022 over grievances relating to funding for universities.

Other demands are arrears of earned allowances to its members and discrepancies in the implementation of the Integrated Personnel Payrolls and Information System IPPIS , among other issues.

Several meetings between ASUU and the Federal Government have ended in a deadlock due to non- agreement in the demands

The federal government went to court to challenge the strike but the union insisted it would not resume but however appealed the court’s ruling