The National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NICN) has set May 30 as the date for judgment on the case brought by the Federal Government, which challenges the eight-month strike of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU). The presiding judge, Hon. Justice Benedict Kanyip, made the announcement after the parties in the matter adopted their written addresses in the referral NICN/ABJ/270/2022, as earlier directed by the court.
At the last hearing, Justice Kanyip granted ASUU seven days to file a reply on point of law to the substantive application of the Federal Government. The application, alongside an affidavit in support, was served on ASUU and their lawyers since September last year, but they did not enter any defence, despite the seven days the court granted them to do so.
During the recent hearing, counsel to ASUU, Femi Falana SAN, informed the court that they filed an appeal before the Court of Appeal, challenging its ruling on March 18, which validated the referral made by the Honourable Minister of Labour and Employment. Falana requested that the court stay action on the matter, pending the determination of the appeal. However, Justice Kanyip rejected the request and ordered that the matter should proceed.
The Federal Government is seeking orders including a declaration that the eight-month ASUU strike was illegal and that ASUU members were not entitled to any payment as provided by the law in Section 43 of the Trade Dispute Act, TDA, 2004 “No Work, No Pay” policy and ILO principles on the right to strike.
Justice Kanyip has also referred the suit brought by ASUU against the Federal Government to the Alternative Dispute Resolution Centre. ASUU wants the court to compel the defendants to accept their annual audited accounts, which they earlier turned down and to restrain them from deregistering the union.
Before referring the matter to the ADR Centre, Kanyip struck out a preliminary objection and counter affidavit brought by the Government against ASUU’s application. Another application by ASUU against the registration of two new academic unions in the university system was also adjourned to June 21 for hearing.