By Olalekan Awojodu
The Law Students Association of Nigeria(LAWSAN) on Friday sued the Federal Government, Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), its President, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi and three others before the Federal High Court, Abuja, over the strike action embarked upon by the union.
Joined as defendants in the suit filed by the plaintiff, Mr. Blessing Agbomhere, who sued on behalf of all members of the Law Students Association of Nigeria are, Ministers of Education, Labour and Employment and the Attorney General of Federation (AGF).
In a writ of summons filed on behalf of the plaintiff by his lawyer, Luqman Momodu, he is praying for an order of the court, compelling ASUU to call of the strike and return to the classroom as well as an order of perpetual injunction restraining the association from embarking on further strikes.
The plaintiff also wants the court to compel ASUU to pay the sum of N10 billion as compensation to Nigerian students, for allegedly infringing on the right of the students to education as guaranteed by Section 18 of the 1999 Constitution and Article 17 of African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights.
The Law students, through their President want, among other reliefs, a declaration that the strike by the University lecturers is a breech of their right to education.
“A declaration that the indefinite strike embarked upon by the 1st and 2nd defendants since March 2020, leading to the closure of government owned universities, which has detrimentally and negatively impacted on the plaintiff’s learning and the smooth operation of academic calendar of universities, is a brazen infraction of the plaintiff’s right to education.
“An order of mandatory injunction compelling the 1st and 2nd defendants to call off the strike and return to the status quo ante bellum whilst negotiation for amicable resolution of the issues in contention or among the defendants is ongoing.
“An order of perpetual injunction restraining the 1st and 2nd defendants whether by themselves, servants, agents and/or privies from further declaring or embarking on indefinite and incessant strikes.”
The students are also seeking an order directing the 3rd to 6th defendants to re-open government owned universities and to honour their contractual agreements with the 1st and 2nd defendants in the overall interest of the plaintiff.
In his statement of claim, Agbomhere said that he is a Nigerian citizen, a final year law student of Baze University and currently the President of the Law Students Association of Nigeria (LAWSAN).
He further averred that the suit was sequel to a mandate given to him by the Senate of Law Students’ Association of Nigeria (LAWSAN), to institute the suit in a representative capacity against the defendants.
University lecturers have been on strike since March 2, 2020 and ASUU officials have being on the negotiating table with the federal government since then.
Meanwhile, no date has been fixed for the hearing of the suit, as is yet to be assigned to a Judge.