The Court of Appeal will, on Friday (today), deliver a ruling on an application by the Academic Staff Union of Universities, seeking permission to appeal against the order of the National Industrial Court.
The NICN had, on September 21, granted interlocutory order in favour of the Federal Government, ordering the striking university lecturers to resume work pending the resolution of their dispute with the government.
But dissatisfied with the court order, ASUU, through its counsel, Femi Falana (SAN), filed an application at the Court of Appeal (Abuja Division) seeking the leave of court to file an appeal against the industrial court order.
Falana claimed that it was the right of ASUU to file an appeal against the interlocutory injunction because it is against them.
He cited several authorities to the effect that ASUU must first seek and obtain leave of the court of appeal before filing a notice of appeal to ensure the validity of the appeal.
Falana asked a three-man panel of the court headed by Justice Hamma Barka to reject government opposition against the application, adding that it would amount to a dangerous decision for his client to be denied the right of appeal.
Earlier, Falana had requested that the stay of execution of the ruling of the industrial court, contained in the application, be discontinued.
However, in his opposition to ASUU’s application, the Federal Government prayed the court to dismiss the entire application on grounds of incompetence and jurisdiction.
The lawyer to the Federal Government, James Igwe (SAN), drew the attention of the court to the fact that the Industrial Court order made on September 21, had not been obeyed by the lecturers.
He also opposed the decision of ASUU to jettison the stay of execution of the Industrial Court order, adding that both parties had already joined issues.
“ASUU is in contempt of court, it is illegal for ASUU to remain on strike in the face of the industrial court order. Section 18(1) of the Trade Dispute Act, does not allow a party in contempt to come before the Court of Appeal with the type of ASUU’s application”, he said.
Igwe, therefore, prayed the Court of Appeal to dismiss the request of ASUU for leave to appeal against the Industrial Court order that has not been obeyed.
Justice Barka Hamma, after taking arguments from the two parties, announced that the ruling of the court would be delivered on October 7.