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Court rejects FG’s motion compelling  ASUU to call off strike

The National Industrial Court, NIC, sitting in Abuja, yesterday, declined to hear an application filed by the Federal Government for an order to direct the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, to suspend its ongoing strike action with immediate effect.

THECONSCIENCEng reports that the court, in a ruling by Justice Polycarp Hamman, refused to hear the application, after it heard from counsel to the striking varsity lecturers, Mr Femi Falana, SAN.

FG’s lawyer, Mr. James Igwe had at the resumed proceedings in the matter yesterday, attempted to persuade the court to hear the claimants’ interlocutory application for an injunction against ASUU.

He told the court that the matter was not only urgent but of great national interest as millions of students have been at home since ASUU embarked on the February 14 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 argued.

He urged the court to order the ASUU to in the interim, return to the classroom, pending the determination of the suit.

However, counsel for ASUU, Mr Falana, SAN, opposed the application on the premise that the case was originally slated for further mention. He contended that since the case was for the mention, FG’s application could not be heard for such injunctive order to be issued.

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Besides, Falana, SAN, told the court that his clients were in the process of meeting with relevant stakeholders, including members of the House of Representatives on September 20, to find a way to settle the thorny issues. “We are going out of our way to ensure that this matter is resolved and we appeal to the claimant to cooperate with us,” Falana added.

In his ruling, Justice Hamman agreed with ASUU that FG’s application could not be taken at this stage of the proceedings. “The matter is for further mention which means a hearing cannot take place,” the judge ruled.

He, however, noted that the FG’s application for an interlocutory injunction, which was accompanied by an affidavit of urgency, would be heard first at the next sitting.