ASUU strike: Pro-Chancellors pursue reversal of ‘No work, no pay’ policy

The National Industrial Court on Friday in Abuja dismissed a request by the Federal Government to hear its application for interlocutory binding members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to suspend their ongoing strike.

Plaintiff’s lawyer, James Igwe (SAN), speaking on Friday at the proceedings in the suit brought against ASUU by the Federal Ministry of Transportation Labour and Productivity, urged the court to hear his client’s pending application for interlocutory injunction.

Igwe insisted that issues at stake were about national interest and an utmost urgency, noting that millions of students have been out of school since February 14, 2022 when university lecturers went on strike.

“Section 47 of the Trade Dispute Act gives your lordship the power to direct that no worker should continue to embark on strike pending when the applications are heard and determined.” he said.

However, lawyer to ASUU, Femi Falana (SAN) challenged Igwe’ s request, and contended that the plaintiff’s application could not be heard because the court had scheduled the case for further mention.

According to Falana, his client’s leaders were in the process of meeting with relevant stakeholders, including members of the House of Representatives on September 20 to further explore ways of resolving the dispute.

“We are going out of our way to ensure that this matter is resolved and we appeal to the claimant (FG) to cooperate with us.” he said.

Ruling, Justice Polycarp Hamman asserted that he would not hear the application by the FG because the case was slated for Friday for further mention.

“The matter is for further mention, which means hearing cannot take place.” the Justice said.

Also, the judge held that the client’s application for interlocutory injunction, which has an affidavit of urgency, would be heard first at the next sitting.

Lawyer to the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa (SAN) spoke about his client’s pending application for permission to be made a party in the case and for the consolidation of the suit by the FG with one earlier filed by SERAP on the same issue.

According to Adegboruwa, he filed two of such applications, dated September 12 and 15. He elected to withdraw the earlier one to enable him move the later application.

He called on the court to hear his client’s application first before taking further steps in the case, a position Igwe opposed, arguing that he was not yet served with SERAP’s second application, dated September 15.

But Justice Hamman ruled out the application dated September 12 which Adegboruwa applied to revoke.

The judge proceeded to recess till September 19 for the hearing of the claimant’s application for interlocutory injunction.

The case filed by the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) against the Federal Ministry of Education and ASUU was later cited.

NANS’ lawyer, Debo Ikuesan prayed the court for a definite hearing date for his client’s suit, but Justice Hammman queried the competence of the suit and his court’s jurisdiction to entertain it.

The judge, who challenged the juristic status of the claimant, ruled that Ikuesan should file a reaction on or before September 20 to addresses both issues.

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