The National Industrial Court on Tuesday postponed the federal government’s lawsuit against the Union of Academic Staff of Universities (ASUU) until March 28 to rule.
The plaintiffs, the federal government and the Minister of Education, had taken ASUU to court in August 2022 for the strike at that time, for interpretation and application of some Commercial Disputes Act (TDA).
The matter before the court’s president, Judge Benedict Kanyip, was raised Tuesday for the defendant’s preliminary objection hearing.
However, when the matter was called, the defense attorney, Mr. Femi Falana, SAN, informed the court that his Reply Point of Law process could not be filed on Monday in the court registry due to an internet problem. .
He therefore requested the court’s permission for a brief adjournment.
In response, the judge adjourned the matter until 1:00 p.m. to allow the attorney to properly present his case and introduce himself to the plaintiffs’ attorneys.
When court resumed, Falana requested his motion dated and filed on September 19, 2022, seeking court authorization for the extension and his Reply on a Point of Law filed Tuesday to be deemed duly filed.
He further proceeded to inform the court that his preliminary objection was based on the jurisdiction of the court and relied on order 3, rule 6 of the TDA to argue that the Minister of Labor and Employment failed to follow due process before issuing the referral. to court. .
He indicated that reconciliation steps were not duly followed and that the Minister could go to court if the parties to a Union were unable to resolve their differences.
Mr. JUK Igwe, SAN, lawyer for FG and Minister of Education, in response to Falana’s submission, stated that Falana’s response, which he received five minutes before the court proceeding, was based on fact and not law.
He further said that all the authorities cited by the lawyer had no relevance to his application.
Igwe further asserted that the defense attorney should have sought court leave to enter a counter-affidavit.
It also said that the National Labor Court with exclusive jurisdiction over industrial matters had jurisdiction to hear the matter.
Igwe asserted that the Minister did not act out of the ordinary, as TDA Order 3 Rule 6 gave him the power to refer the matter to the NICN.
He added that the matter was also of national interest.
He concluded by urging the court to dismiss the defense attorney’s objection.
The judge therefore adjourned the matter until March 28 to rule.
The Nigerian News Agency (NAN) reports that the Minister of Labor and Employment, on behalf of the federal government, had brought the matter before the court by way of referral for the court to decide the strike issue and for the interpretation of certain sections of the TDA.
The court, for its part, on September 21, 2022, ordered the defendant to end his strike and return to work.
The vacation judge who had heard the matter after ruling on the precautionary measure returned the file to the president of the court for its reassignment for the hearing of the substantive claim.