Falana kicks as Ngige asks FG to pay withheld salaries of UNIZIK lecturers

Femi Falana, a senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN), has opposed the move by Chris Ngige, minister of labour, to facilitate the payment of withheld salaries of some lecturers at the Nnamdi Azikiwe University (UNIZIK).

The salaries of the lecturers were withheld as a result of the eight-month nationwide industrial action by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) last year.


In 2022, lecturers under ASUU embarked on an eight-month strike over the non-implementation of their demands by the federal government.

Members of the union have been at loggerheads with the government since the strike ended over non-payment of their salaries for the period the industrial action lasted.

The federal government had insisted that the union members would not be paid for the period they were on strike, citing its ‘no work, no pay’ policy.

But members of the union had condemned the move. The matter has remained a subject of intense conversation since then.


Reacting, in a statement, Falana argued that the minister’s action contradicts the law.

The lawyer, who is the counsel to ASUU amid the lingering face-off, said contrary to Ngige’s claim, the entire lecturers of UNIZIK joined the eight-month strike last year.

“Dr. Ngige has convinced the federal government not to pay ASUU members for embarking on strike in 2022. But he has decided to isolate his colleagues in his home state for special favour by causing their salaries to be paid for the period of the same strike,” Falana said.

“Dr. Ngige took a similar action when members of the National Association of Resident Doctors embarked on strike in 2021. The federal government paid the salaries of the resident doctors for the period of their strike.

The actions of the minister run contrary to the provision of Section 42(1) of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 and article 2 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act, Cap A9, laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 which have prohibited any form of discrimination in the application of the law or policy of the government.”

Emmanuel Osodeke, ASUU president, and Nigige did not respond to calls seeking comments on the matter.

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