Strike: Court declines FG request to direct ASUU to resume work while suit is pending

*Adjourns hearing to September, 19

The National Industrial Court, NIC, sitting in Abuja, on Friday, refused the prayers of the Federal government to direct the striking Academic Staff Union of University, ASUU, to resume classes while the federal government suit is pending before it.

Federal government had filed the suit against ASUU seeking an order to put an end to it’s seven months old strike and to compel the University lecturers to go back to classes.

At resumed hearing on Friday, counsel to the Federal government, James Ikwe, SAN, requested the court to direct ASUU to resume work pending the determination of the suit.

However, the defendant’s counsel Femi Falana, SAN, opposed the request, stating that it would amount to determining the substantive suit before hearing.

Justice Justice P. l. Hammam who agreed with Femi Falana’s submission said it was the issue for determination and therefore could not be resolved before hearing .

Meanwhile the application brought by SERAP seeking to be joined as an interested party was not heard as the counsel filed another application which was only served yesterday on the party.

SERAP’s lawyer Adegboruwa Ebun-Oluwa prayed the court to withdraw the earlier application and substitute the same with the current one. The court subsequently struck out the earlier application.

The lawyer also argued that for the sake of justice his application should be heard before entertaining other matters related to the suit.

On his part counsel for the defendant, Falana agreed that for interest of justice and clarity it would be proper to hear the application brought by SERAP pertaining same matter before the determination of other issues.

He, however, added that the defendant (ASUU) is making moves to meet with stakeholders to ensure that the matter is resolved.He, therefore, asked that the matter be adjourned till Friday for completion of the processes of filing that had commenced.

In response, counsel to the Federal government James Igwe, SAN asked the court to give the substantive suit brought before the court an accelerated hearing because of the urgency of the matter, so that students can resume in schools.

He also contended that the SERAP application is not ripe for hearing because he has not been served.

The court in its ruling said the SERAP’s application is not yet ripe for hearing since it was only served yesterday to party through the ministry of Justice.

The judge consequently adjourned the suit to Monday, September, 19 for hearing.