The Kaduna State Government has said that it regards as unlawful the strike embarked upon by the Kaduna State University, KASU branch of Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU.

In a statement signed by Governor Nasir El-Rufai’s spokesperson, Samuel Aruwan, on Friday, the government affirmed that there is no trade dispute between it and ASUU.

“The Kaduna State Government is in receipt of a communication from the KASU branch of ASUU, confirming that the branch has joined the nation-wide strike because they are full members of the national union.

“This is unacceptable to the state government. It is an anomaly that employees can be on strike without declaring a dispute with their employer. It bears restating that Nigeria is a federation of states, and no trade union can alter this federal reality by imposing on an employer state government the terms that federal employees have agreed with the Federal Government.

“The Kaduna State Government is not affected or bound by any dispute, disagreement or agreement ASUU may have with the Federal Government. As a sub-national entity, the Kaduna State Government is separate from the Federal Government of Nigeria. The Constitution of Nigeria clearly attests to this.

“It is the considered view of the Kaduna State Government that the KASU branch of ASUU has embarked on an unlawful strike. Therefore, the Kaduna State Government is not liable for salaries and allowances for the period of the unlawful strike.

“The government shall proceed to initiate the necessary disciplinary steps in accordance with Kaduna State Public Service Rules with respect to the individual acts of commission or omission of those that choose to join or persist in an unlawful strike.”

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Apart from ASUU, the state university chapters of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities, SSANU, Non-Academic Staff Union, NASU, and National Association of Technologists, NAAT, also joined the nationwide indefinite strike declared by their unions on Monday.

The Chairman of SSANU at the university, Kantoma Bala, had told the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN in Kaduna on Tuesday 12 September, that the three unions had formed a Joint Action Committee, JAC to monitor the strike.

“It is a national strike and the non-academic staff unions are part of the respective national bodies,” he said.

“We began the indefinite strike as directed by our respective national leadership over the failure of the federal government to implement the 2009 agreement with the union.”

Meanwhile, the leadership of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, on Friday held a closed-door meeting with the representatives of the federal government.

The meeting, held at the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment in Abuja, was to allow the lecturers brief the government on the outcome of the congresses by various chapters of ASUU.

PREMIUM TIMES reported how the various chapters of ASUU held congresses to review the offer of the federal government and decide whether or not to suspend their strike. Some of the branches wanted the strike suspended while others voted for a continuation.

Although the National Executive Council of the union reportedly met late Friday night to collate the stance of the various chapters, officials have kept sealed lips on what the decision of the lecturers is; until Friday’s unannounced meeting.

When a PREMIUM TIMES reporter arrived the venue of the meeting at about 7:15 p.m. on Friday, the various officials and the government delegation were seen coming out of the meeting.

They declined to comment on what was discussed.

However, Samuel Olowookere, the spokesperson of the Ministry of Labour and Employment said that there will be another meeting between the government and ASUU by 3 p.m. on Monday.

The lecturers have been on strike for one month over several issues including non-payment of due salaries and allowances and poor funding of universities.