The Federal Government’s lawsuit against the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) over the union’s recent industrial action has been postponed by the National Industrial Court of Nigeria until September 16, 2022.
The Federal Government requested an order from the Abuja court for ASUU to resume negotiations as it continues to work with the union to resolve their conflict.
The matter was sent to the registrar of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria on Thursday, September 8, according to a statement by the head of press and public relations at the Ministry of Labour and Employment, Olajide Oshundun.
The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) requested to join the case as an interested party at Monday’s sessions.
Ebun-Olu Adegnoruwa (SAN), the attorney for SERAP, said that his client had filed a similar lawsuit to compel the Federal Government to uphold its 2009 agreement with the professors on strike.
According to him, SERAP’s desire to participate in the case is motivated by the need to prevent contradictory outcomes in relation to the labour dispute. Tijjani Gazali (SAN), the federal government’s attorney, rejects SERAP’s request to combine the lawsuits.
He informed the judge that the case was scheduled for mention on Monday, making SERAP’s application premature. Femi Falana, the attorney for ASUU, disagreed, saying that he was aware of the attempts made by attorneys to file court documents in the lawsuit on Monday.
The judge determined that SERAP should not consolidate the case. The judge stated that he was simply serving as the case’s vacation judge and that another judge would be assigned to decide the case.
He postponed the matter until Friday, September 16, 2022, and directed the parties to the lawsuit to file and exchange court documents.
Outside of court, Falana, the attorney for ASUU, criticised the Federal Government for attending court. He insisted that university instructors are still working and urged the Federal Government to cease trying to intimidate ASUU.
Tijanni Gazali, the counsel for the Federal Government, asserted that ASUU could not tell the Federal Government what platform its members should be paid on.
He said that the Federal Government and ASUU’s accord had been substantially implemented and that the specifics of their agreement would be included in the papers they would submit to the court.