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Appeal Court orders ASUU to call off strike

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THE Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja has ordered the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to call off its ongoing strike pending the determination of the substantive suit.

The court today directed ASUU to obey the ruling of the Industrial Court which directed it to suspend its eight-month old strike.

ASUU had downed tools on February 14 over recurring disagreements with the federal government.

Recall that the Federal government had taken ASUU to court over the lingering strike that kept students out of federal universities.

According to the government, the basis of the suit was to allow the court of law to determine the legality or otherwise of the strike.

It asked the court to interpret in its entirety the provisions of Section 18 LFN 2004, especially as it applies to the cessation of strike once a trade dispute is apprehended by the Minister of Labour and Employment and conciliation is ongoing.

The government also wanted the court to determine whether ASUU members are entitled to emoluments for the period they have been on strike.

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On September 21, the Industrial Court ordered the striking lecturers to call off its strike.

According to Justice Polycarp Hamman who delivered the ruling, the strike should be called off pending the determination of the case between the union and the Federal government.

However, ASUU appealed the court’s judgment ordering its members to return to work and, instead, filed 14 grounds of appeal against it.

The appeal was made on September 23 by the union’s lawyer, Femi Falana.

The Appeal Court, on Wednesday, October 5, advised both parties to reach an out-of-court settlement on the issue within 24 hours.

But counsel to the federal government James Igwe, and Falana returned to the court the next day to say they could not amicably resolve the crisis and were ready for the appeal.

Apart from the appeal, ASUU also vowed to sue the government for registering its break-away faction, the Congress of Nigerian Universities Academics (CONUA).

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Usman Mustapha is a solution journalist with International Centre for Investigative Reporting. You can easily reach him via: umustapha@icirnigeria.com. He tweets @UsmanMustapha_M

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