ASUU Vs FG: Court Grants Striking Lecturers Conditional Leave To Appeal
The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja has granted leave to the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to appeal the decision of the National industrial Court of Nigeria delivered on the 21st of September.
In a ruling delivered by Justice Hamman Barka on Oct 7th and made public today, the court granted ASUU 7 days to file its notice of appeal before the National Industrial Court on the condition that the order of the lower court is obeyed immediately.
On the 28th of Sept, ASUU had applied to the court to grant it leave to appeal against the interlocutory order of Justice Polycarp Hamman of the National Industrial Court. ASUU also asked for an order staying execution of the decision of the National Industrial Court pending the hearing and determination of its appeal.
ASUU brought the application both on grounds of law and on Fundamental Human Rights and amongst other things, it asked the court not to shut out thousands of its members who are desirous of ventilating their grievances.
ASUU also held that the ruling of the National Industrial Court affects its members right to fair hearing and it would be in the interest of justice to stay the execution of the decision pending the hearing and determination of its appeal.
The reliefs were brought pursuant to Section 6(6) (b), 36 (1) and 243 (3) of the 1999 constitution as amended and Order 6 Rule s 1(1), and Order 10 (1) of the Court of Appeal Rules 2021.
The Federal Government through its lawyers filed a counter affidavit In opposition to ASUU’s application. Among other things, the FG challenged ASUU’s subsequent move to withdraw its application seeking a stay of execution of the decision of the National Industrial Court.
In its ruling, the court of appeal held that ASUU can withdraw its application seeking a stay of execution and same was accordingly struck out. More worrisome for the court was the failure of ASUU to obey the decision of the National Industrial Court, a situation which led the FG’s lawyer, J. U Igwe to submit that the association was seeking for an order of the court of appeal, “with dirty hands”.
After reviewing all the judicial authorities cited, the court of appeal granted the application for leave to appeal the decision of the National Industrial Court on the condition that the order of the court is obeyed immediately.
The court also acknowledged that Mr Falana is a long time advocate of the rule of law and obedience to lawful court orders. The court challenged the learned silk to aid the obedience of the lawful court orders made.