The Nigerian Association of Medical and Dental Academics (NAMDA) and the Congress of Nigerian University Academics (CONUA), which were recently registered by the Nigerian government, are unconstitutional, according to a foremost constitutional lawyer, Femi Falana, SAN.
In an interview with Arise TV’s Newsday on Wednesday, Falana provided a legal perspective on the Academic Staff Union of Universities’ (ASUU) fallout with the Federal Government. He also examined the implications of the new unions.
He said, “Under the current Labour Law regime in Nigeria, you cannot have two unions or three unions in the same sector.
“In other words, within the academia in Nigeria, there can only be one registered trade union that is the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) registered pursuant to the Trade Union Act as amended.
“We are going to have a mushrooming of trade unions, which threatens industrial peace in the country. We cannot have two unions in the university nor can we have two unions in other unions in the country. Politically it won’t work,” he said.
Falana characterized the registration as unlawful and a last-ditch effort by the administration to end the ongoing ASUU strike.
He said, “Government has tried various measures but the latest one is perhaps going to embarrass the government because it is an illegal exercise and won’t work. ASUU is today one of the most organised and united trade unions in Africa.
Falana added that the economy would suffer as a result of the expansion of academic unions brought on by the registration of breakaway unions.
In order to avoid subjecting the nation to mockery, he encouraged the government to go back to the drawing board and make sure that appropriate advice is obtained.
On Tuesday, Senator Chris Ngige, the minister of labor and employment, authorized the registration of CONUA and NAMDA and commanded the unions to recommence lectures.