On Friday, the Court of Appeal will make a decision about a plea by ASUU asking for permission to appeal a National Industrial Court ruling ordering its members to return to work.Thank you for reading this post, don't forget to subscribe!
On September 21, the Industrial Court issued an interlocutory injunction in favour of the Federal Government and ordered the union to call off the strike until the matter with the government was resolved.
On February 14, the university teachers’ union went on strike.
ASUU filed an application with the Court of Appeal, expressing dissatisfaction with the industrial court’s decision and requesting permission to appeal it.
Its attorney, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), informed the court that because the interlocutory injunction was not in its favour, his client had the right to appeal.
Falana supported his claim that ASUU must first request and acquire leave of the Court of Appeal before filing a notice of appeal in order to ensure the legality of the appeal with a variety of authorities.
He requested that the government’s resistance to the application be rejected by a three-judge panel of the appeal court, which Justice Hamma Barka chaired.
If the court denied the application, he claimed, it would be a risky decision since it would deny his client’s ability to appeal.
Falana who had also filed an application seeking a stay of execution of the ruling of the lower court, applied to withdraw the application.
Counsel to the Federal Government, Mr James Igwe (SAN), opposed ASUU’s application and prayed the court to dismiss both applications as incompetent and argued that the court had no jurisdiction to entertain incompetent applications.
Igwe drew the court’s attention to the fact that the union had refused to obey the order of the Industrial Court which was made since Sept. 21.
The lawyer also objected to the application to withdraw the stay of execution order on the ground that both parties had already joined issues.
He contended that the union, having been in contempt of court, could not come before the Court of Appeal to ask for a favour as its hands were already dirty.
He also argued that proper parties to the matter were not before the court because those in the matter at the industrial court were not the same parties before the Court of Appeal.
“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 the Court of Appeal with the type of ASUU’s application,’’ Igwe submitted.
He asked the court to dismiss ASUU’s request for leave to appeal against the Industrial Court’s order since it had refused to obey it ab initio.
After taking all arguments, Justice Barka in agreement with the other judges fixed Friday to deliver judgment.
One of the justices on the panel, Justice Biobele Georgewill had on Wednesday implored both the Federal Government and ASUU to explore an out-of-court settlement.