Following a court suit by the Federal Government, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has been ordered by the National Industrial Court to suspend its seven months old strike and resume work immediately.
Chris Ngige, Minister of Labour and Employment, on behalf of the Federal Government, filed a case before National Industrial Court after failing to reach an agreement with ASUU leaders to end the strike.
In his ruling, Justice Polycarp Hamman, said the strike by ASUU inflicted serious damage to the educational pursuit of University students in Nigeria’s public universities.
The judge explained the judgment of the court is in the interest of justice and to be fair to all parties in the case.
Counsel to the Federal Government, Mr James Igwe, SAN, told the court that the application for the injunction was scheduled September 12 and filed on the same date.
He also said the application was brought in pursuant to the rules of the NICN 2017 proceeding.
He added that it was predicated on 11 grounds, supported by a 21-paragraph affidavit deposed to Mr Okechukwu Wampa, a Legal Adviser in the Ministry of Labour and Employment, attached with three exhibits and an undertaking as to damages.
Furthermore, he called on the court to grant the appeal sought and proceeded to adopt in its entirety and totality the written address, arguing that the claimants had fulfilled all the requirements to let the court grant the injunction.
On his part, Mr Femi Falana SAN, counsel to ASUU, submitted to the court a nine-paragraph counter-affidavit filed on Sept. 16 deposed by the president of ASUU.
He further submitted that attached to the affidavit were eight exhibits accompanied by a written address and proceeded to adopt the same as their argument in opposition to the interlocutory injunction.
Moreover, Falana contended that the minister did not possess the authority to order the court in the referral to direct ASUU to call off its strike.
Falana added that once a referral was before a court, no party could go outside of it.
He also pointed out that the claimants did not adhere to the procedure in part 1 of TDA 2004 that specified that only an individual has the right to approach the court as a trade union will first need to go to the Industrial Arbitration Panel ( IAP), before coming to the court.
According to him, ASUU can only approach the NICN to appeal the decision of IAP.
Falana also said that the letter that accompanied the referral had the name of the Attorney-General as a party in the suit, but that however, the application filed before the court was without the name.