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ASUU loses again as Appeal Court orders  return to classrooms

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Emmanuel Osodeke,

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has lost another legal battle in the struggle to get Nigerian government to do its bidding. This is as the Court of Appeal, Abuja Division on Friday ordered ASUU members to end their eight-month-old strike and return to the lecture halls immediately.

The Court of Appeal in Abuja, on Friday, ordered the Academic Staff Union of Universities to call off its strike.

The court gave the order after dismissing the union’s application for a stay of execution of an earlier ruling of the National Industrial Court directing the university lecturers to resume work.

The three-member panel of the Court of Appeal led by Hamma Barka granted the union permission to appeal the ruling of the industrial court but ruled that it must first resume work to be allowed to file the appeal.

It said should ASUU fail to re-open the universities, the permission it gave the union to appeal against the interlocutory injunction of the National Industrial Court “will be automatically vacated.”

It gave the university lecturers’ union seven days within which to file its notice of appeal against the order of the National Industrial Court.

“I am inclined to granting the application to appeal the decision of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria. But the order of the lower court shall be immediately obeyed,” the court held in its unanimous ruling.

The National Industrial Court had on 21 September ordered ASUU to call off the strike.

The court granted the motion on notice filed by the federal government, directing the lecturers to return to classrooms.
Ruling on the interlocutory injunction, the trial judge, Polycarp Hamman, restrained ASUU from continuing with the industrial action pending the determination of the suit filed against ASUU by the FG. Displeased by the ruling, the union headed to the appeal court to appeal the ruling.

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It also filed a stay of execution of the ruling of the industrial court.
The Court of Appeal ordered the striking lecturers to “immediately” call off the eight months strike, having struck out ASUU’s application for a stay of execution of the lower court’s order.

It said it was within ASUU’s right to appeal the decision of the industrial court.

Agreeing with the FG’s argument that ASUU could not approach the appellate court with “dirty hands”, the panel held, “should the applicant fail to obey the order (of the lower court), the leave granted shall be automatically vacated.”

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