From Olalekan Awojodu, Abuja
The Court of Appeal in Abuja will tomorrow Friday October 7, deliver ruling in an application by the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, seeking permission to appeal against the industrial court order.
The industrial court had on September 21, granted interlocutory order in favour of the federal government, ordering the university lecturers to resume work pending the resolution of their dispute with government.
Dissatisfied with the lower court order , ASUU through its counsel Mr Femi Falana SAN, filed an application at the Court of Appeal, Abuja seeking the leave of court to file an appeal against the industrial court order.
Falana claimed that it is the right of his client to file an appeal against the interlocutory injunction because it is against them.
Falana cited several authorities to the effect that ASUU must first seek and obtain leave of the court of appeal before filing notice of appeal so as to ensure validity of the appeal.
The senior lawyer informed a three- man panel of the court headed by Justice Hamma Barka to reject government opposition against the application, adding that it will amount to a dangerous decision for his client to be denied the right of appeal.
Earlier, Falana had requested that the stay of execution of the ruling of the industrial court, contained in the application, be discontinued.
However in a vehement opposition to ASUU’s application, the Federal Government prayed the court to dismiss the entire application on grounds of incompetence and jurisdiction.
The Federal Government lawyer, Mr James Igwe SAN drew the attention of the court to the fact that the Industrial Court order made since September 21, has not been obeyed by the lecturers till date.
He also opposed the decision of ASUU to jettison stay of execution of the Industrial Court order adding that both parties have already joined issues.
The senior lawyer argued that ASUU, having been in contempt of court, cannot come before the Court of Appeal with unclean hands to ask for a favour or attention of the court.
Specifically, he cited order 6 rule 4 of the Court of Appeal adding that ASUU’s application, is in breach of the order, thereby making it incompetent and should not be granted.
Similarly, Igwe argued that proper parties were not before the court because the parties were wrongly and unlawfully listed on the application paper against the parties at the industrial court
“ASUU is in contempt of court, it is illegal for ASUU to remain on strike in the face of the industrial court order. Section 18(1) of the Trade Dispute Act, does not allow a party in contempt to come before Court of Appeal with the type of ASUU’s application. ”
Igwe therefore prayed the Court of Appeal to dismiss the request of ASUU for leave to appeal against the Industrial Court order that has not been obeyed.
Justice Barka Hamma, after taking arguments from the two parties, announced that the ruling of the court will be delivered on October 7.
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