FG accuses ASUU of deliberate attempts to stall case before industrial court


 

The federal government has accused the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) of  “not showing good cause” in the pursuit of the suit before the national industrial court.

 

At the resumed court session on Tuesday, Marshall Abubakar, counsel to the union told the court that he had filed applications seeking an extension of time and for the matter to be referred to the alternative dispute resolution ( ADR).

 

However, James Igwe, counsel to the ministers of labour and employment, and education, who are the claimants in the suit, accused the respondents of stalling the case.

 

“My learned colleague has not shown good cause as stated by order 57, rule 4 (2) of the NICN rule,” Igwe said while objecting to the defence’s applications.

 

 “What he said he filed is not before the court, the rule states that an applicant must show good cause.

 

“The matter is slated for definite hearing and I urge the court to go on with the matter as what the counsel claimed to have filed is based on speculations.”

 

Responding, Abubakar prayed the court to use its discretion to grant his application for an extension of time, adding that his affidavit which had not been challenged had shown good cause.

 

He further submitted that the delay in filing his processes was due to the ruling of the court in the last adjourned date which necessitated a series of consultations.

 

However, the court ruled that in order for a matter to be referred to ADR, parties must join issues which the defence had not done due to its failure to file processes.

 

Benedict Kanyip, the judge also said the defence has shown a lack of seriousness in the suit, having failed to exhibit copies of the applications claimed to have been filed.

 

Kanyip also added that Abubakar was trying to buy time with his applications and in doing so had not shown capable and genuine reasons for the extension of time.

 

“The application is hereby dismissed and ruling entered accordingly,” the judge held.

 

Abubakar also withdrew his application for the matter to be referred to the ADR after which it was struck out by the court.

 

The claimant’s counsel proceeded to adopt his processes while the court gave Abubakar seven days to file and serve his written address on the claimants.

 

The matter has been adjourned to May 11, for a hearing.

 

ASUU had in 2022 embarked on a strike to protest the non-implementation of its demands by the federal government. The strike lasted for eight months.

 

In August, the federal government filed a suit to challenge the strike and also sought the court’s decision on the interpretation and application of the Trade Dispute Act (TDA) as it relates to industrial actions.

 

The court directed ASUU to suspend the strike and resume work pending the determination of the suit.

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