The Nasarawa State Assembly has declined teachers’ request to intervene in the ongoing strike, citing the non-registration of their body – the Academic Staff Union of Secondary Schools (ASUSS).
“We actually wanted to intervene on behalf of the teachers; we wanted to make a case for them, but we have found out that their umbrella body – ASUSS – is illegal and unregistered,” Daniel Oga-Ogazi, the Majority Leader, said on Wednesday in Lafia.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the teachers, under the aegis of ASUSS, embarked on an indefinite strike on May 12, to press for improved working conditions.
Oga-Ogazi, Chairman, House Committee on Education, told newsmen that the law makers wanted to intervene on behalf of the teachers but had to reconsider the move after it found out that ASUSS was not registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission.
“As lawmakers, we cannot work with an organisation that has no respect for the law.
“ASUSS is an illegal organisation; we cannot invite them or dabble into their issues. They are not to be considered as an organisation or association.
“They are not to be considered as a legitimate union of secondary school teachers,” he said.
He criticised the group for choosing to go on strike when students were writing their National Examination Council (NECO) examination, and described that as “selfish”.
“There are moral questions the teachers must answer. Is this the best time to abandon the schools?
“Don’t they know that students are writing external examinations?,” he asked.
Reacting, ASUSS chairman in Nasarawa State, Gabriel Angbashi, wondered why government was more interested in “chasing shadows” rather than addressing the basic issues of teachers welfare and conducive teaching environment raised by ASUSS.
He said that ASUSS was given an approval to be registered as a trade union by the Ministry of Labour before the matter was taken to court by the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT).
“We had floored the NUT at the High Court and Court of Appeal before it decided to go to the Supreme Court whose ruling is still being awaited.
“In any case, government is not a party to the issue of our legality and should not use that to deny us what is legitimately due to us,” he argued. (NAN)