The Federal Government’s lawsuit against the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) over the union’s recent industrial action has been adjourned by the National Industrial Court of Nigeria until September 16, 2022.
The Federal Government petitioned the Abuja High Court for an order allowing ASUU to resume as it continues to engage with the union to resolve their conflict.
According to Olajide Oshundun, Head of Press and Public Relations at the Ministry of Labour and Employment, the matter was brought to the registrar of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria by the Minister, Chris Ngige, on Thursday, September 8.
The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) requested to join the case as an interested party at Monday’s sessions. Ebun-Olu Adegnoruwa (SAN), the attorney for SERAP, said that his client had filed a similar lawsuit to compel the Federal Government to uphold its 2009 agreement with the lecturers on strike.
He contended that SERAP’s desire to engage is motivated by the necessity to avoid duplicity in the resolution of the industrial dispute. Tijjani Gazali (SAN), counsel to the Federal Government, opposes SERAP’s application to consolidate the proceedings.
He informed the judge that SERAP’s application was premature because the case was scheduled to be heard on Monday. However, ASUU’s counsel, Femi Falana, said that he was aware of the lawyers’ efforts to file court papers in the complaint on Monday.
The judge concluded that SERAP’s case should not be consolidated, He further noted that he was simply functioning as the case’s vacation judge and that the case will be decided by another judge.
He directed the parties to file and exchange court documents and delayed the case until Friday, September 16, 2022.
Speaking to journalists after the hearing was adjourned, a lawyer representing ASUU, Falana, berated the Federal Government for going to court. He stated that the Federal Government should cease attempting to blackmail ASUU and that university lecturers have not stopped working.
Tijanni Gazali, counsel to the Federal Government, stated that ASUU cannot dictate to the Federal Government what platform its members should be paid for.
He argued that the arrangement reached between the Federal Government and ASUU has been significantly implemented and that specifics of their agreement would form part of the papers they will be putting before the court.
Newsbreak.ng had earlier reported that SERAP and five university students dragged President Buhari-led government to court following its failure to meet the demands of striking lecturers.