21 February 2013

Nigeria: Bauchi Govt Sues Teachers Over Strike

Bauchi — The Bauchi State government has filed criminal charges against officials of the Association of Secondary School Teachers (ASSUST) led by Abdullahi Mohammed Tanko and 13 others over the industrial action embarked upon by the association last month.

The suit which was filed by Barrister Alhamdu Rufai'I Sabo on behalf of the state's Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice and the Ministry of Education, stated thus, "Sometime in February, the accused criminally conspired and operated illegally and closed government public secondary and primary schools under the state' Ministry of Education. The accused harassed and intimidated some teachers who were not willing to join them".

Government's counsel told the court that the group is not a registered trade union, and that it is operating illegally, an offence contrary to Sections 96,100c, 104,114 of the Penal Code.

He asked the court to restrain the accused from parading themselves as leaders of the purported illegal ASSUST, and to ask teachers to go back to their classes and not listen to instructions from any other person.

Counsel to the teachers, Barrister Joseph Terwese Kuleve, filed a preliminary objection challenging the jurisdiction of the court to entertain the suit. He said the only court that can entertain the suit is the National Industrial Court, as according to him, there is no valid case against the accused. Chief Magistrate Yau Abdullahi Kundak granted all the prayers of the government, and adjourned the suit to March 6th.

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