Court rules Wednesday on FG’s request to compel ASUU resumption
A National Industrial Court (NIC) in Abuja on Monday scheduled a ruling for September 21 on the application by the Federal Government seeking to compel striking university lecturers to return to work pending the determination of a suit it filed against the industrial action by members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
Justice prayed the court to order the striking varsity lecturers to resume work in the interim, pending the determination of the main suit.
Igwe argued that it was important that the case be urgently attended to because it is of great national interest, noting that millions of students have been at home since February 14 when the industrial action commenced.
He cited Section 47 of the Trade Dispute Act and argued that the provision allows the court to direct that no worker should continue to embark on strike pending when the applications are heard and determined.
Igwe stressed the need for the court to promptly determine the case to enable university students to return to classrooms.
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He added that since the dispute between FG and university teachers had been submitted before the court for adjudication, it would be proper and in the interest of justice for the strike to be called off.
Lawyer to ASUU, Femi Falana (SAN) said the union’s leadership was currently meeting with stakeholders to ensure an amicable resolution of all the thorny issues.
Falana urged the Federal Government to cooperate with the stakeholders to ensure a lasting resolution of the dispute.
He faulted a referral the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige forwarded to the court for an order to compel ASUU to return to work.
Falana argued that such referral amounted to a directive from the Minister to the court.
He further argued that neither a Minister nor the President could wield such powers as to control a court of competent jurisdiction.
Earlier, the judge declined to hear the preliminary objection by ASUU noting that it was not ripe for hearing and that the court’s rules provide that such objection should be heard with the substantive suit.