In the wake of lingering academic bodies’ strike action which has kept students at home since March, Law students in Nigeria have dragged the Academic Staff Union of Universities and governmental bodies to court for the deprivations caused to students in the country.
Acting on behalf of Nigerian Law students, Blessing Agbomhere who happens to be the National President of the Law Association of Nigeria; sought an award of N10billion Naira as compensation for the violation of their rights to education since the beginning of the strike action about 9 months ago, precisely March, 2020.
The suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/1551/2012 was filed at the Federal High Court in Abuja on Friday.
Since the strike action was declared, ASUU and the Federal government representatives have failed on several attempts to reach a round table agreement. Another round of talks is currently ongoing on Friday and the outcome still much anticipated.
Joined as defendants are, ASUU; ASUU President, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi; the Minister of Education; the Minister of Labour and Employment; the Attorney General of Federation; and the Federal Government of Nigeria.
Blessing, through his lawyer, Luqman Momodu, urged the court to, among others declare that he representing other students of his association, was entitled to right to education by virtue of Section 18(1), (2) and (3) of the Nigerian Constitution and Article 17(1) of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Right (Ratification and Enforcement) Act Cap, A9 LFN, 2004.
To affirm his right to education, Blessing urged the court to declare that the 3rd – 6th defendants which includes the ministers and Federal Government, “are under obligation to create the necessary, supportive and conducive environment to ensure that the plaintiff enjoys a crisis-free, peaceful and uninterrupted learning for the purpose of the promotion, enhancement and enjoyment of the Plaintiff’s right to education”.
He also asked the court to declare that “the indefinite strike action embarked upon by the 1st and 2nd defendants (ASUU and its President) since March 2020 leading to the closure of government-owned universities which has detrimentally and negatively impacted on plaintiff’s learning and the smooth operation of academic calendar of universities is a brazen infraction of the plaintiff’s right to education”.
On the persisting strike action, Blessing however seeks an order of mandatory injunction “compelling the 1st and 2nd defendants to call off the strike action and return back to the status quo ante bellum whilst negotiation for amicable resolution of the issues in contention or among the defendants are ongoing.”
In addition, the complainant is seeking “the sum of N10,000,000,000.00 (ten billion naira) only as general and exemplary damages for the loss of valuable time, opportunity, mental torture, psychological anguish and general deprivation which the plaintiff has suffered or likely to be exposed to on graduation.”