The National Industrial Court, NIC, in Abuja, on Friday, refused the request of the federal government to compel the striking Academic Staff Union of University, ASUU, to work pending the determination of the suit challenging the strike.
At a resumed sitting, Counsel to the federal government, James Igwe SAN, requested the court to compel ASUU to resume work pending the determination of the suit.
However, the defendant’s counsel, Femi Falana, SAN opposed the request, stating that it would amount to determining the substantive suit.
Justice Justice Peterson Hammam who agreed with Falana said it was the issue for determination and therefore could not be resolved before the hearing.
Meanwhile, the application brought by SERAP seeking to be joined as an interested party was not heard as the counsel filed another application which was only served on the party on Friday.
SERAP’s lawyer prayed the court to withdraw the earlier application and substitute the same with the current one.
The court subsequently struck out the earlier application.
The lawyer also argued that for the sake of justice his application should be heard before entertaining other matters related to the suit.
On his part counsel for the defendant, Falana agreed that in the interest of justice and clarity it would be proper to hear the application brought by SERAP pertaining to the same matter before the determination of other issues.
He, however, added that the defendant (ASUU) is making moves to meet with stakeholders to ensure that the matter is resolved and asked for an adjournment to Friday for completion of the process of filing that has commenced.
In response, counsel to the Federal government, James Igwe, asked the court to give the substantive suit before the court’s accelerated hearing because of the urgency of the matter to enable the students to resume school.
He also contended that the SERAP application is not ripe for hearing because it has not been served to him.
The court in its ruling agreed that SERAP’s application is not yet ripe for hearing since it was only served on Friday to party through the ministry of Justice.
The judge consequently adjourned the suit to Monday, September, 19 for a hearing.