The court of appeal sitting in Abuja has asked the federal government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to explore the option of an out-of-court settlement in resolving the ongoing strike.
ASUU has been on strike since February 14, 2022, as lecturers of public universities protest unpaid allowances and demand better welfare packages from the Federal Government.
After several meetings between ASUU and the federal government ended in deadlock, the federal government went to the national industrial court to challenge the strike.
In a judgment delivered on September 21, 2022, Polycarp Hamman, the judge, granted the federal government’s application for an interlocutory injunction to restrain ASUU from continuing with the strike.
The judge also ordered members of the union to resume work pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit.
Following the judgment, ASUU filed an appeal through its legal team led by Femi Falana, a senior advocate of Nigeria, premised on 14 grounds.
The union is, among other things, seeking the leave of the appellate court to file the appeal pursuant to section 243 of the constitution that requires a leave of court to appeal the judgment or ruling of the national industrial court (NIC).
ASUU is also seeking a stay of execution of the order of the court, pending the hearing and determination of the appeal.
However, at the court session on Wednesday, October 5, 2022, Georgewill Abraham, justice of the court of appeal, suggested that parties take 24 hours to dialogue and come up with a resolution that would make Nigerians happy.
Addressing James Igwe, FG’s counsel, and Femi Falana, counsel to ASUU, the judge said: “There is time for everything; time for war and time for peace.”
“As ministers in the temple of justice, we want to see the two of you as senior lawyers to encourage and explore an amicable settlement of this dispute,” he added.
“In fact, we expect to return to this court on Thursday with good news that the dispute has been thrashed out and all the appreciation of Nigerians will go to you.
“So, talk to your clients to take the interest of the nation into consideration for the sake of our children. As you leave here, go and sit down and talk and resolve the matter.”
Responding, Igwe and Falana agreed to dialogue.
However, Falana pointed out that both parties would have to reach a compromise for the issue to be resolved amicably.
The court has fixed Thursday to hear ASUU’s motion seeking to stay execution of the industrial court’s judgment.