Industrial Court Adjourns FG’s Suit Against ASUU
The National Industrial Court (NIC) on Tuesday adjourned the Federal Government’s case against the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) until March 28.
The Trade Dispute Act (TDA) was the subject of a lawsuit brought against ASUU by the Federal Government and the Minister of Education in August 2022 over the union’s strike in 2021.
The defendant’s preliminary objection was heard in court on Tuesday by the court’s president, Judge Benedict Kanyip.
Nevertheless, when the case was called, the defense lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), informed the judge that he was unable to submit his paperwork for a Reply on Point of Law on Monday due to an internet issue.
He asked the court for leave to take a short break.
To allow the lawyer to properly file his paperwork and serve the claimants’ attorneys, the judge agreed to postpone the case until 1 p.m. as a result.
Falana asked that the court accept his application, dated and filed on September 19, 2022, seeking the court’s authorization for an extension, and his Reply on Point of Law, filed on Tuesday, as having been properly filed at the start of the case.
According to the attorney, his preliminary objection was based on the court’s jurisdiction, and he cited Order 3, Rule 6 of the TDA to argue that the Minister of Labour and Employment did not follow the correct processes before sending the issue to the court.
He claimed that the proper channels for reconciliation had not been used and that, if the trade union groups were unable to agree, the minister might file a lawsuit.
Falana’s response, which was given to the attorneys for the Federal Government and the Ministry of Education by Mr. J. U. K. Igwe (SAN) five minutes before the court’s scheduled action, relied on a reply of facts rather than a reply of law.
All of the authorities given by the council, according to the government’s attorney, are unconnected to his request.
Igwe emphasized that before submitting a counter-affidavit, the defense attorney should have requested authorization from the court.
Additionally, he mentioned that the National Industrial Court, which has sole jurisdiction over labor disputes, might take up the case.
Igwe claimed that the minister did not act unusually because Order 3, Rule 6 of the TDA provided him the authority to refer the matter to NICN.
The lawyer claims that the matter is also important on a national level and requested that the judge overturn the defense lawyer’s objection.
After listening to the defense lawyer and the prosecuting counsel, the court fixed March 28 for a ruling.