The National Industrial Court in Abuja on Friday rejected the federal government’s prayers to order the striking Academic Staff Union of University to resume classes pending the decision of a government case challenging the strike.
During the resumed hearing, federal government counsel James Ikwe (SAN) requested that the court order ASUU to resume work pending the verdict in the lawsuit.
However, counsel for the defendant, Femi Falana, SAN opposed the request, stating that it would come down to determining the substantive lawsuit.
Justice Justice P. l. Hammam, who agreed with Falana, said it was a matter of determination and therefore could not be resolved before the hearing.
Meanwhile, the request to join as interested party made by SERAP was not heard as counsel made another request which was served on the party only yesterday.
SERAP’s lawyer prayed the court to withdraw the earlier application and replace it with the current one. The court subsequently rejected the earlier request.
The attorney also argued that for the sake of justice, his request should be heard before hearing other matters related to the lawsuit.
For his part, counsel for the defendant, Falana agreed that in the interests of justice and clarity, it would be appropriate to hear SERAP’s request regarding the same matter before determining other issues.
However, he added that the Defendant (ASUU) is taking steps to meet with stakeholders to ensure the matter is resolved and asked for a postponement until Friday for the completion of the filing process that has begun.
In response, government counsel, James Igwe, asked the court to expedite the substantive lawsuit filed in the court, due to the urgency of the case, to allow the students to resume schools.
He also argued that the SERAP application is not ripe for consideration as it has not been served on him.
The court said in its ruling that the SERAP’s application is not yet ripe for consideration as it was only served to party yesterday through the Ministry of Justice.
The judge has therefore postponed the case until Monday 19 September for a hearing.