The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has asked the Court of Appeal in Abuja to set aside the judgment of the National Industrial Court (NIC) that ordered the suspension of its ongoing seven-month-old strike.
KanyiDaily recalls that ASUU had embarked on a warning strike since February 14, 2022, over the failure of the federal government to meet its demands.
Amid the strike, the government and the union have held a series of meetings, but both sides have reached no agreement on ending the seven-month-old strike.
Consequently, the federal government filed an application for an interlocutory injunction at the national industrial court, seeking an order to restrain the ASUU from further continuing with the ongoing nationwide strike.
Ruling on the matter on September 21, Justice Polycarp Hamman granted the government’s application and ordered ASUU to resume work pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit.
Justice Hamman held that the strike is detrimental to public university students who cannot afford to attend private tertiary institutions.
ASUU Appeals National Industrial Court’s Ruling
In a 14-ground of appeal, lodged through its team of lawyers led by a frontline human rights activist, Mr Femi Falana, ASUU sought the leave of the court “to appeal against the interlocutory ruling of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria per Honourable Justice P.1. Hamman.”
The appellant also prayed the court for another order, “staying execution of the order of Justice Hamman … pending the hearing and determination of the interlocutory Appeal.”
ASUU maintained that Justice Hamman “erred in law and occasioned a miscarriage of justice when he decided to hear and determine the Respondents’ motion for an interlocutory injunction when he knew or ought to have known that the substantive suit was not initiated by due process of law”.
It argued that the mandatory steps and procedure stipulated in Part 1 of the Trade Dispute Act, TDA, were not followed by FG.
Moreso, ASUU averred that the trial judge acted ultra vires and misdirected himself when he unlawfully assumed jurisdiction to entertain the matter, adding that what was granted as an interlocutory order was the same relief FG sought in its substantive suit.
“The findings of the trial court were contrary to and against the weight of evidence led at the trial”, it added.
ASUU further told the appellate court that it showed “uncontroverted and irrefutable evidence” that FG waited for about seven months before approaching the NIC for the order of interlocutory injunction”.
It insisted that by virtue of sections 17 and 18 of the TDA, the NIC can only entertain appeals arising from the decision of the Industrial Arbitration Panel, IAP, with respect to issues arising from trade disputes.
ASUU said it was totally “dissatisfied with the decision” of the trial court which it said should not only be stayed from being executed, but also set aside in its entirety.
It said the appeal was lodged “both on grounds of law and on grounds bordering on fundamental human rights”.
“This honourable court should not shut out the Appellant and thousands of its members desirous of ventilating their grievances pursuant to section 6 (6) (b) and 36 (1) of the 1999 Constitution, as amended”.
It relied on section 243 (3) of 1999, as amended, to apply for leave of the appellate court to lodge the appeal.
“The Applicant’s counsel, out not the abundance of caution, has brought this application to obviate any doubt associated with the nature of the appeal”, ASUU added.
KanyiDaily recalls that ASUU had recently expressed readiness to suspend its ongoing seven-month old strike if the federal government accepts its “minimum” demands.