Emmanuel Osodeke, president of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), has warned against forcing lecturers back to work by the industrial court.
Osodeke spoke on Tuesday during a meeting with the leadership of the house of representatives and the ministry of education.
Osodeke said that the problem we have in this country is that we look at the strike as a problem, but the strike is a symptom of a problem in the system
The federal government had also recently filed a suit against the union at the national industrial court over the lingering strike.
Speaking at the meeting, Osodeke said it spells danger for the nation’s public universities if lectures are forced by the court to resume teaching without the federal government addressing their demands.
“The problem we have in this country is that we look at the strike as a problem, but strike is a symptom of a problem in the system,” he said.
“Nobody will go round our universities today and say that our universities are good, whether federal or state universities.
“If the court forces the lecturers to go to work tomorrow, which type of teaching will they do? If the court forces the Nigerian academics — say ‘go and teach against your will’ — just like the court forcing a doctor to go and treat a patient against their will, how many of us will go and meet that doctor.”
Osodeke also criticised the ministry of education for not doing enough to address the demands of the union.
According to him, the ministry has “never” invited ASUU for an official meeting with the goal of finding a lasting solution to the strike.
The court is scheduled to rule on the matter on Wednesday.