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Leadership tussle: NUT claims control of unionism in primary, secondary schools

Akinwale Aboluwade 
The Nigeria Union of Teachers, NUT Oyo State Wing has urged its members, both in primary and secondary schools, to remain calm barring the recent decision of the Supreme Court on the Union’s leadership matter.
The NUT said, on Friday that it still remains the only recognised and registered trade union that is empowered by the Trade Union Act to unionize teachers both in primary and secondary schools in the country.
A statement which was jointly signed by the NUT Chairman and Secretary, Mr Tojuade Adedoyin and Muhammed  Abudllahi, respectively admonished the general public to disregard the rumour that judgment has been delivered in favour of the Academic Staff Union of Secondary School.
The statement described as misleading the interpretation of the judicial pronouncement of the Supreme Court by ASUSS. The statement by NUT read, “The attention of the state leadership of the Nigeria Union of Teachers, Oyo State Wing has been drawn to the rumours flying around that the legal tussle between the so called Academic Staff Union of Secondary Schools, formerly Conference of Secondary School Tutors and the Nigeria Union of Teachers, the Nigeria Labour Congress and two others was resolved in favour of ASUSS. 

“This is not only a big lie, but a deliberate distortion of facts and clear misinterpretation of the judgment of the Supreme Court. The judgment of the honourable court delivered on the 15th January, 2021 was in fact clear and unambiguous as it rendered the judgment of the Court of Appeal incompetent on the ground that the members of the bench who delivered the judgment were not properly constituted to adjudicate on the contested matter. 
“The Supreme Court in essence, ordered that the matter be heard afresh before the Court of Appeal by members of the bench. This points to the fact that the judgment of the court of the first instance delivered in favour of the respondents (NUT and bio) still subsists, valid and binds on the parties involved until the Court of Appeal decides otherwise upon a fresh hearing of the Appeal ordered by the Supreme court in its judgment,” it stated.
The leadership battle between NUT and ASUSS has been dogged with tension from state to state in recent time. In June last year, the Court of Appeal in Benin, Edo State reportedly dismissed a case filed by the NUT challenging the rights of secondary school teachers to establish the Academic Staff Union of Secondary Schools as a professional body and trade union across the states of the federation.
Recall that in 2002, secondary school teachers in Nasarawa State had approached the High Court in Lafia in Suit no NSD/ LF/9/2002 to challenge the Nigeria Union of Teachers, saying that it had no right to deduct check-off dues from their salaries having withdrawn from the body and joined the then Conference of Secondary School Teachers.
On November 27, 2003, the High Court gave judgement in favour of the plaintiff and ordered NUT to stop deducting dues from the salaries of secondary school tutors who were members of COSST.
Consequently, the NUT filed an appeal against the judgment at the Court of Appeal Jos, Plateau State, but the said appeal was dismissed for failure of NUT to file their brief of argument which was dismissed.
On the 7th of February, eight years after the Nasarawa High Court delivered the judgement, NUT filed another action at the National industrial Court claiming that the ASUSS had no power to collect check-off dues from their members without referring to the judgement of the high court which barred the NUT from interfering into the affairs of secondary teachers now represented by the ASUSS.
The NUT has, however, indicated its resolve to follow the matter to a logical conclusion using legal approach.

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