The Court of Appeal, sitting in Abuja, has adjourned till today, Friday, to rule on an application the Academic Staff Union of Universities, (ASUU), filed to stay the execution of the ruling of the National Industrial Court, (NIC), which ordered an end to its on-going strike action.
Lawyers for the Federal Government and the Union – James Igwe (SAN) and Femi Falana (SAN) – could not resolve the eight months-old strike, despite the out-of-court settlement as advised by the appellate Court.
A three-man panel of the appellate court, led by Justice Hamma Barka, said it would also consider the merit in ASUU’s request for leave to file a comprehensive appeal to set-aside the NIC ruling. Barka, thereafter stepped down the matter for an hour to enable the counsel to ASUU, Falana, to file a reply to the counter affidavit deposed to by the Federal Government in opposition to the hearing of the appeal.
At the resumption of the hearing, Falana said they had begun consultations which would continue at the end of the day’s proceedings. He suggested that their application challenging the ruling of the Industrial Court be heard by the three-man panel of the Appeal court.
Both parties agreed that the court should hear the application, as there was no amicable resolution reached as advised by the court. After the panel had listened to both sides, it adjourned the matter till today, Friday for ruling.
The NIC had, in its ruling, ordered ASUU to call-off the over seven-month old strike action in national interest and for the sake of undergraduates in the country. It ordered the striking lecturers to return to the classroom, pending the determination of a suit FG filed to query the legality of their strike action.