The National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NICN) has ordered the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to call off the strike it embarked upon over seven months ago.
Delivering a ruling in Abuja on the industrial dispute between ASUU and the federal government, Justice Polycarp Hamman granted an injunction sought by the counsel to the federal government that asked the academic union to go back to the classroom.
The federal government’s counsel, James Igwe, had applied for an interlocutory injunction to restrain ASUU from continuing with the strike pending the determination of the referral by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige.
Counsel To ASUU, Femi Falana argued that the minister lacked the power to order the court in the referral to direct ASUU to call off its strike.
He averred further that once a referral is before a court that no party can go outside of it.
But in the ruling, the judge dismissed the argument of Falana that the interlocutory injunction should be dismissed and the court should instead grant an accelerated hearing for the referral filed by Ngige.
ASUU commenced the strike in February after accusing the federal government of reneging on previous agreements on matters such as increased funding of universities and increasing lecturers’ salaries.
As part of measures to achieve amicable resolution of the protracted industrial dispute between ASUU and the FG, the two parties engaged in several meetings that ended in a deadlock, including the intervention of other stakeholders.