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Appeal court throws out ASUU case over disobedience of court order

The Court of Appeal, Abuja Division, on Friday, ordered members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to resume work in obedience to the National Industrial court decision before it could proceed with its appeal. 

The appellate court gave the order in a ruling on an application by the ASUU seeking permission for it to appeal against the order of the National Industrial Court which asked the striking lecturers to resume duty.

The industrial court had on September 22, granted an interlocutory order following an application to that effect by the Federal Government, ordering university lecturers to return to work pending the resolution of their dispute with government.

Unhappy with the ruling, however, ASUU through its counsel, Femi Falana, SAN, headed to the appellate court to seek redress.

At the Appeal Court, ASUU filed an application dated September 28, seeking the leave of court to file an appeal against the industrial court order.

But in its ruling, the Court of Appeal, which granted ASUU “conditional leave to appeal the order of the Industrial Court” insisted that ASUU must obey the order of the lower court with effect from today, October 7.

Only two days ago, the Justices of the appellate court had, in a subtle manner, hinted both parties in the case to settle the matter out of court. The court even gave them 24 hours to report the settlement, saying Nigerians will be grateful to them for it. One of them, Justice Georgewill specifically tasked counsel to the Federal Government, Mr James Igwe SAN and that of ASUU, Mr Femi Falana SAN to first sit down as lawyers, take patriotic positions and convey the position to their clients. “There is time for everything, time for war and time for peace. As Ministers in the temple of justice, we want to see the two of you as Senior Lawyers to encourage and explore amicable settlement of this dispute. In fact, we expect you to return to this court on Thursday with good news that the dispute has been thrashed out and all the appreciation of Nigerians will go to you.

So, talk to your clients to take the interest of the nation into consideration for the sake of our children. As you leave here, go and sit down and talk and resolve the matter”, he pleaded. But they failed to heed the advice.

On Friday, the 3-man panel led by Justice Hamman Barka was firm. They pronounced that for ASUU to file its notice of appeal within 7 days, it must show evidence that its members have resumed work October 7.“ Failure to adhere to the order, will make the appeal incompetent before Court of Appeal”, the panel unanimously held.

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