The Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal yesterday encouraged the Federal Government and the striking members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, to further investigate an out-of-court settlement of their disagreement.
As a result, the appeals court deferred hearing the ASUU appeal that was filed with it for another 24 hours in a judgment made by a three-judge panel that was unanimous.
In order to amicably resolve all the difficult issues, it was decided to give the opposing parties a chance to reevaluate and approach the negotiating table.
After the case was set for hearing, Justice Georgewill Biobele Abraham pleaded with FG’s attorney, Mr. James Igwe, SAN, and counsel for ASUU, Mr. Femi Falana, SAN, to take a patriotic stance and inform their clients of the court’s ruling.
“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 amicable settlement of this dispute.
“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,” Justice Abraham added.
Igwe, the attorney for FG, responded by thanking the panel for the warning and promising to continue the conversation with the attorney for ASUU.
Falana, SAN, said his clients were usually up for talking, adding that he had already started something similar.
Falana emphasized, however, that for the topic under contention to be resolved amicably, both parties would need to make concessions.
ASUU filed an application to delay the execution of the National Industrial Court’s (NIC) ruling ordering a stop to its continuing strike, and the panel, headed over by Justice Barka Hamma Akawu, said that it would consider the motion today.
Igwe, the attorney for FG, had argued that the motion dated September 28 had not been served on him.
It will be noted that on September 21, the NIC ordered ASUU to end its strike, which had been going on for more than seven months, in the interest of the nation and its student population.
While the outcome of a lawsuit FG filed to challenge the legitimacy of the striking varsity professors’ conduct was pending, it ordered the lecturers to return to the classroom.
Even as it requested a stay of the judgment’s execution, ASUU later filed a 14-ground appeal to overturn the decision.