HomeCover StoriesCourt adjourns ruling on FG, ASUU suit

Court adjourns ruling on FG, ASUU suit


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The National Industrial Court adjourned the federal government’s suit against the Academic Staff Union of Universities on Tuesday until March 28 for a ruling.

The claimants, the Federal Government and the Minister of Education, had dragged ASUU before the court in August 2022 over the then-strike for the interpretation and application of the Trade Dispute Act.

The matter before the president of the court, Justice Benedict Kanyip, came up on Tuesday for the hearing of the defendant’s preliminary objection.

However, when the matter was called, the defense counsel, Mr. Femi Falana, SAN, informed the court that his reply on point of law could not be filed on Monday at the court’s registry due to an internet issue.

He, therefore, sought the leave of the court for a short adjournment.

The judge, in response, stepped down the matter until 1.00 pm to enable the counsel to properly file his process and serve the claimants’ counsel.

When the court resumed, Falana applied for his motion, dated and filed Sept. 19, 2022, seeking leave of court for an extension and his reply on point of law, filed Tuesday, to be deemed as properly filed.

He further proceeded to inform the court that his preliminary objection was premised on the jurisdiction of the court, and he relied on Order 3 Rule 6 of the TDA to argue that the Minister of Labour and Employment did not follow due process before issuing the referral to the court.

He stated that reconciliation steps were not duly followed and that the Minister could approach the court if parties in a trade union could not resolve their differences.

The counsel to the FG and Minister of Education, J.U.K. Igwe, SAN, in response to Falana’s submission, stated that Falana’s reply, which he received five minutes before the court’s proceeding, was based on facts and not on law.
He further stated that all the authorities cited by the counsel did not have any relevance to his application.

Igwe, in addition, stated that the defense counsel should have sought leave of court to file a counter-affidavit.

ASUU won’t go on strike during my tenure.
He also said the National Industrial Court, with its exclusive jurisdiction over industrial matters, had the jurisdiction to entertain the matter.

Igwe stated that the minister did not act out of the ordinary, as Order 3 Rule 6 of the TDA conferred on him the power to refer the matter to NICN.

He added that the matter was also of national interest. He concluded by urging the court to discount the defense counsel’s objection.

The judge, therefore, adjourned the matter until March 28 for a ruling.

It can be recalled that the Minister of Labour and Employment, on behalf of the Federal government, had filed the matter before the court by way of referral for the court to resolve the issue of the strike and for the interpretation of certain sections of the TDA.

The court, for its part, on September 21, 2022, directed the defendant to end its strike and return to work.

The vacation judge who had presided over the matter after delivering a ruling on the interim injunction returned the file to the president of the court for reassignment for the hearing of the substantive suit.


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