The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) was ordered by the National Industrial Court to return to work.
In a lawsuit, the Federal Government requested that ASUU end its seven-month strike.
The Federal Government has referred the subject to the court by the Minister of Labour and Employment in order to address the problem of ASUU’s prolonged strike.
In his argument, Mr J.U.K Igwe, SAN, counsel to FG, stated that the application for the injunction was dated September 12 and submitted on the same date.
He further stated that the application was filed in accordance with the provisions of the NICN 2017 procedure.
Igwe further noted that it was based on 11 grounds and was backed by a 21-paragraph affidavit deposed to Mr Okechukwu Wampa, a Legal Adviser in the Ministry of Labour and Employment, which was attached with three documents and a damages undertaking sworn to by Wampa.
He further encouraged the court to approve the requested injunction and proceeded to adopt the written address in its fullness and totality, stating that the claimants had satisfied all of the prerequisites for the court to award the injunction.
He stated that the claimant’s action was not apprehensive, and that the lost time of seven months during the strike could not be recovered.
He finished by urging the court to issue the injunction based on the provision of section 18 (1) (e) of the Trade Disputes Act 2004, which states that a worker should not go on strike if a case is already before the court.
Mr Femi Falana SAN, counsel for the defendant, noted that he had before the court a nine-paragraph counter-affidavit submitted on September 16 and deposed to by ASUU’s president.
He further stated that eight exhibits were attached to the affidavit, along with a written address, and that they will use the same as their case in opposition to the interlocutory order.
Falana further claimed that the minister lacked the authority to direct the court in the case to force ASUU to end its strike.
He went on to say that once a referral was in front of a court, no party may move outside of it.
Falana further argued that the claimants did not follow due process under Part 1 of the TDA 2004, which stated that only an individual has the right to approach the court since a trade union must first go to the Industrial Arbitration Panel (IAP) before coming to the court.
He stated that the union may only appeal the IAP’s judgement to the NICN.
Falana further stated that the Attorney-name General’s appeared as a party in the litigation in the letter accompanying the referral, but the application submitted before the court did not.
He further stated that the referral requesting an accelerated hearing was unnecessary since there was no urgency in the case given that the strike had lasted seven months.
He further argued that the balance of convenience was not on the claimants’ side, and that the claimants’ conduct in their request for the court to interpret the 2009 Agreement should be discounted.
Finally, he requested that the court dismiss the application or direct the parties to the IAP.