The National Industrial Court has adjourned the hearing of the suit filed by the Nigerian government against the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to Monday, September 19.
The government had through the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, filed a suit challenging the ongoing strike by ASUU, requesting the court to grant an interlocutory injunction that would mandate the university union to suspend the industrial action and return to classrooms while negotiation between both parties continues.
Both parties (federal government and ASUU) first appeared in court on Monday, September 12, for the case which was later adjourned to today.
At the resumed sitting on Friday, counsel to the federal government, James Igwe, asked the court to give the suit an accelerated hearing due to the urgency of the matter to enable the students to return to school.
Igwe told the court that since the matter was already in court, it would be proper for the strike to be called off, pending the determination of the suit.
ASUU’s Counsel, Femi Falana, argued that the matter was adjourned to Friday for further mention and not for hearing. He said he has been served with the Federal Government’s Interlocutory injunction.
Falana disclosed that ASUU is currently meeting with stakeholders to ensure that the crisis is resolved and appealed to the Federal Government to cooperate with them to resolve the issue.
Justice Polycarp Hamman, who presided the court sitting subsequently, adjourned the suit to Monday 19, 2022 for hearing.
Meanwhile, the national president of ASUU, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke has said that the union is ready to call off the seven-month-old strike if concrete agreements are reached with the federal government.
Osodeke gave the assurance in Abuja, on Thursday, at a National Town Hall Meeting on Tertiary Education tagged: ‘The Locked Gates of our Citadels -A National Emergency.’
He said “We have given the government a minimum that we can accept, but they have not responded on the issue of revitalisation, on the issue of earned allowance and on issues that we have all discussed.
He said the union is willing to return to school of government is willing to put its proposal on the table so that the matter can be resolved ones and for all.
“If the government loves this country, these children and their parents, then they should come to the table and let us resolve these issues in one day. Just as we did in 2014, they should come and ensure that we do that. We can even have the meeting openly, so that Nigerians will see what we are discussing.”
On the suit filed by the government, Osodeke said, if the court forces the lecturers to return to school, they won’t force them to teach with open minds, adding that students would definitely be at the receiving end.
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