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Ngige broke no law by referring ASUU to court over 2022 strike, says judge

Ngige broke no law by referring ASUU to court over 2022 strike, says judge
March 29
09:34 2023

The national industrial court has held that Chris Ngige, minister of labour and employment, did not violate any law by referring the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to court over its 2022 strike.

The union had last year embarked on industrial action to protest the non-implementation of its demands by the federal government. The strike eventually lasted for eight months.

In August, the federal government filed a suit over the strike and also sought the court’s decision on the interpretation and application of the Trade Dispute Act (TDA) as it relates to industrial actions.

The court later directed ASUU to suspend the strike and resume work pending the determination of the suit.

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The academic union, however, challenged the suit.

NAN reports that when the case came up on Tuesday, Femi Falana, counsel to ASUU, argued that Ngige lacked the power to refer the matter to court.

But in his submission, J.U.K Igwe, counsel to the claimants — the federal government and the minister of education — contended that Ngige did not act out of the ordinary.

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Igwe said order 3, rule 6 of the TDA conferred on him the power to refer the matter to the industrial court.

In his ruling, Benedict Kanyip, the presiding judge, held that ASUU could not prove that Ngige’s referral was against section 17 of the TDA.

The court also held that the defendant did not demonstrate how the minister assumed the position of a judge in his own case as claimed.

Kanyip added that ASUU’s application seeking dismissal of Ngige’s referral failed, noting that it was properly brought before the court.

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The court thereafter adjourned the matter until May 2, 3 and 4 for hearing.

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