FG vs ASUU: The legal battle begins

A National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NICN) sitting in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja on Monday adjourned the case between the Federal government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to September 16, 2022 to enable both the Federal Government to file the necessary papers for the suit.

At the resumed hearing of the proceedings, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), prayed the court to allow them join in the suit as an interested party.

SERAP through its lawyer, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, said his client had filed a similar suit asking the court to compel the federal government to honour its 2009 agreement with the striking varsity lecturers.

“We filed a similar suit on 8 September, asking the court to compel the federal government to honour an agreement it willingly entered into with ASUU,” Mr Adegboruwa, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) said on Monday.

He based SERAP’s joinder request on the need to forestall duplicity of outcomes concerning the industrial dispute.

However, lawyer to the federal government, Tijjani Gazali who opposed Adegboruwa’s application to consolidate the suits told the court that SERAP’s application was “premature” as the case was billed for mention on Monday.

The judge, Justice Polycap Hamman his ruling agreed with the federal government that the suit was not ripe for consolidation. He held that he was only presiding as a vacation judge as the case would be assigned to another judge for full adjudication.

The Judge further ordered parties in the suit to file and exchange their written submissions, and adjourned the case September 16.

The Federal Government approached the National Industrial Court (NICN) sitting in Abuja, requesting an order for the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to resume while the dispute is being addressed.

A statement by the Head, Press and Public Relations at the Ministry of Labour and Employment, Olajide Oshundun, said the matter was on Thursday, 8 September, referred to the Registrar of NICN by the Minister, Chris Ngige.

ASUU embarked on an initial four-week strike on 14 February and has continued to extend it as talks with the government fail.

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