A Suit by the Federal government filed against the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) on the lecturers’ protracted strike has been adjourned to Friday, September 16, 2022.
A statement by the Head, Press and Public Relations, Ministry of Labour and Employment, Olajide Oshundun, indicated that the matter was referred to the registrar of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria by the Minister, Chris Ngige on Thursday, 8th September.
At Monday’s proceedings, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) sought to join the suit as an interested party.
SERAP’s lawyer, Ebun-Olu Adegnoruwa (SAN) said, his client had filed a similar suit to compel the Federal Government to honour its 2009 agreement with the striking lecturers.
He said, SERAP’s request to join in the matter was based on the need to forestall the duplicity of outcomes concerning the industrial dispute. However, counsel to the Federal Government, Tijjani Gazali (SAN) opposed SERAP’s application to consolidate the suits.
He told the judge that SERAP’s application was premature as the case was billed for mention on Monday.
Counsel to ASUU, Femi Falana, however, argued that he was aware of the efforts by lawyers to file court papers in the suit on Monday.
The judge ruled that the suit was not ripe for consolidation by SERAP. The judge said, he was only presiding over the matter as a vacation judge and that the case would be assigned to another judge for adjudication.
He ordered the parties in the suit to file and exchange court documents as he adjourned the matter to Friday, 16 September 2022.
Speaking to journalists outside the court, counsel to ASUU, Falana, berated the Federal Government for going to the court. He said the Federal Government should stop trying to blackmail ASUU, maintaining that university lecturers have not stopped working.
On his part, the counsel to the Federal Government, Tijanni Gazali, said ASUU cannot dictate to the Federal Government what platform its members are to be paid.
He said, the agreement reached between the Federal Government and ASUU has been substantially implemented and that details of their agreement will form part of the papers they will be filing before the court.