By Laleye Dipo
The Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) has said that the Supreme Court did not split the union into two autonomous bodies.
Speaking at the Niger State Working Executive Committee (SWEC) in Minna, the state capital Thursday, the state Chairman of the union, Ibrahim Umar, and the Principal Assistant Secretary, Labaran Garba, said there is a misconception and misinterpretation of the Supreme Court judgment that secondary school teachers have been given the legal right to form their own union — Academic Staff Union of Secondary Schools.
To support their presentation, the NUT officials produced certified true copies including soft copies of the Supreme Court judgment of January 15, 2021 to delegates at the meeting.
Secondary school teachers in the NUT have engaged the union in a long drawn autonomy legal battle since 2004.
They told the delegates to disregard any information to the contrary and continue to work for the peace progress and unity of the union.
According to their submissions, the summary of the Supreme Court judgment read by Kudirat Motomori Olatokunbo Kekere-Ekun is that the whole case has been referred to the Court of Appeal for retrial by another panel of justices because the judges that gave the judgment at the lower court did not do so in accordance with the provisions of the constitution and court’s directive.
“Therefore disregard the deliberate and misguided misinterpretations given to this judgment by ASUSS and their cohorts,” the duo said.
Garba specifically stated that: “NUT is still the rightful trade union to unionize both primary and secondary schools in Nigeria, as the jurisdictional scope of trade unions provided in the Trade Union Act remains unchanged.”
He threatened that legal action will be taken against individuals and groups of individuals who spread false information about the Supreme Court judgment, adding that all commentaries on the issue should therefore be guided by the judgment to avoid litigation.
A communique issued at the end of the SWEC meeting announced the suspension of two principal officers of the union in Bosso Local Government Area of the state for their involvement in financial irregularities in the Endwell scheme. The document did not name the principal officers concerned.
The communique however said all the 15 people involved in the scam including the two principal officers should refund their commitment with the cooperative on or before the February 11, this year, adding that in the alternative lawful means of recovery of the money will be taken.
According to the communique, the SWEC in session also expressed worries at the continuous delay in the remittance of monthly deductions of Teachers Social Security Scheme and 25 local government cooperative societies subscriptions and loan repayment, saying it viewed the action as an attempt to frustrate and cripple the Endwell scheme and Teachers Cooperative societies.