The National Industrial Court, NIC, on Tuesday, discharged the suit of the National Association of Nigerian Students, NANS, against the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, and the Federal Government to call off the ongoing strike action. The suit was discharged by Justice Polycarp Hamman after it was taken back by the President of NANS, Umar Faruk Lawal.
The NANS president had informed the court that he filed a charge NICN/ABJ/273/2022, for himself and on behalf of NANS. Not only ASUU was mentioned in the suit, the Minister of Education and the Attorney-General of the Federation were also listed. When the case reappeared in the court on Tuesday, Lawal, informed the court that he filed a motion for discontinuance.
He promised that his decision to take back the suit was based on the challenge by NANS and objections to his stand as the president. Though the Minister of Education and Attorney-General were not present at the sitting, ASUU was represented by Marshal Abubakar. The representative of ASUU said he was not against Lawal’s decision to take back the suit. As a result, Justice Hamman discharged the suit.
Prior to this moment, two people had claimed victory over the last NANS presidential election. Lawal, who is a student of the Department of Library and Information Science of the Bayero University, Kano claims he won the election but the NANs Convention Planning Committee declared Usman Barambu as the President-elect of the association.
ASUU had since gone before the Court of Appeal in Abuja to set aside the NIC judgment that ordered it to call off its over seven-month old strike action. The union, in a 14-ground of appeal, also applied for a stay of execution of the judgment.
The NIC in a verdict passed on September 21, ordered the union lecturers to return back to school, while they sit on a suit the Federal Government filed to query the legality of their strike action. The order directing ASUU members to resume work came after the Federal Government through its lawyer, Mr James Igwe filed against the union.
Justice Hamman explained that the verdict was passed to keep national interest and also for the good of students who have been at home since February 14.He also explained the consequences of the strike on undergraduates, especially those whose parents cannot afford a private university. “The balance of convenience tilts in favour of the applicant. “I hold that this application is meritorious and this application is granted”, Justice Hamman ruled.