The National Industrial Court on Wednesday granted the motion on notice filed by the Federal Government, suspending the industrial action by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
Recall that on Monday, counsel to the Federal Government, James Igwe SAN, urged the court to grant the interlocutory application because of its urgency as well as the infrastructural damage on tertiary institutions occasioned by the industrial action which began since February 14.
Igwe had said that based on trade union laws the court had powers to call off the ASUU strike while negotiations between the union and FG continues.
But Counsel to ASUU, Femi Falana SAN, had told the court that the FG must show how the strike has caused damage to tertiary institutions.
He had contended that the federal government’s refusal to fulfil its agreement with ASUU constitutes damage on the lecturers, their welfare and the wellbeing of educational institutions.
Falana urged the court to dismiss the application because it is based on hearsay and the federal government representative is not a member of the university community.
In his ruling on Wednesday, Justice Polycarp Hamman observed the effect of the strike action by ASUU on the lives of the students.
He said it was obvious that the legal adviser of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment has access to legal issues relating to the trade dispute.
“I do not see how the information is a hearsay,” the judge held.
However, the judge said in the interest of justice and fairness to all, he would grant the federal government’s request citing damage and conduct of parties.
He agreed that the FG who is the owners of federal universities stands to loose more if the application is not granted.
“Students have been out of school for 7 months in Nigeria where age is a factor in employment,” he said.
The judge added that the National Youth Service Corps even bars graduates aged 30 for going for youth service.
“I therefore hold that the balance of convenience tilts in favor of granting the application,” the judge said.
The judge said that the prolonged strike inflicts irreparable damage on Nigerian students and they have been at home since February 14, 2022.
Subsequently, the court suspended the ASUU strike citing its discretionary powers over trade union disputes.