Court Declines Government’s Request To End University Association’s Strike

Salihu Ali, Abuja

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The National Industrial Court, NIC, sitting in Abuja, Nigeria on Friday, refused the prayers of the Nigerian government to direct the striking Academic Staff Union of University, ASUU, to resume classes pending the determination of the governments’ suit challenging the strike.

At resumed hearing, Counsel to the Nigerian government, James Ikwe SAN, requested the court to direct ASUU to resume work pending the determination of the suit.

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

Justice Polycarp Hammam who agreed with Femi Falana said it was the issue for determination and therefore could not be resolved before hearing .

Meanwhile the application brought by Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), seeking to be joined as an interested party was not heard as the counsel filed another application which was only served on thursday on the party.

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

Mr Adegnoruwa 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, Mr Femi Falana agreed that for interest of justice and clarity it would be proper to hear the application brought by SERAP which is connected to same matter before the determination of other issues.

He added that, the defendant (ASUU) is making moves to meet with stakeholders to ensure that the matter is resolved and asked for adjournment to Friday for completion of the process of filing that has commenced.

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

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