The National Industrial Court has declared as valid the Minister of Labour and Employment’s referral to the court in the matter with the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
The claimants, the Federal government FG and the Minister of Education had dragged ASUU before the court in August 2022 over the then strike, for interpretation and application of some Trade Dispute Act (TDA).
The matter was slated for ruling before Justice Benedict Kanyip, on the preliminary objection raised by the defendant.
The defendant’s counsel, Femi Falana, SAN, argued that the Minister who referred the matter to the court by way of referral, lacked the power to do so.
The claimants counsel, J.U.K Igwe SAN Igwe in his submission argued that the Minister did not act out of the ordinary as order 3 rule 6 of the TDA conferred on him the power to refer the matter to NICN.
The court in its ruling however held that ASUU failed to show how the Minister’s referral was against Section 17 of the Trade Dispute Act ( TDA).
The court in addition stated that the defendant also did not prove how the Minister assumed the position of a judge in his own case.
Kanyip added that where the issue of referral is challenged, argument were meant to be made solely on the referral.
The court further in its ruling affirmed that the defendant’s application for the Minister’s referral to be dismissed failed and concluded by stating that the referral was properly brought before the court.
The court after its ruling also adjourned the matter until May 2,3 and 4 for hearing.
The court awarded to the claimants a punitive cost of N100,000 against a counsel, Kehinde Oyewumi, who sought to be a joinder in the suit.
Earlier Oyewumi brought a motion seeking to be joined as a party in the matter.
The court in awarding the cost stated that the counsel’s action of seeking joinder was an abuse of court proceeding.
Another of the counsel’s suit against the FG had earlier been dismissed by the court on ground that the first claimant, SERAP was not a trade union and the other claimants were students of some Nigerian universities.
The court therefore ruled that the claimants had no locus standi to bring the suit before the court.