he Federal Government on Wednesday informed the National Industrial Court of its decision to formally react to Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU)’s request for arbitration by May 11.
ASUU filed the suit against the Minister of Labour and Employment and the Registrar of Trade Unions ( RTU).
The suit is challenging alleged threat by the Federal Government to withdraw ASUU’S certificate of registration for not rendering annual financial returns and audited accounts for almost 10 years.
During the sitting of Tuesday, ASUU’s counsel, Mr Marshal Abubakar, holding the brief of Mr Femi Falana SAN informed the court that he filed a motion for the matter to be referred to Alternative Dispute Resolution ( ADR) Centre of the court.
Mr J.U.K Igwe, SAN in response said that he had not been served any application to that effect.
He added that aside the application, he would need to consult with his clients to know their decision concerning the referral to ADR.
The judge, Justice Benedict Kanyip therefore adjourned the matter until Wednesday.
When the matter came up on Wednesday however, Igwe informed the court that he waited Tuesday, but never got ASUU’s application until shortly before Wednesday’s proceeding.
He therefore sought for an adjournment to enable him react formally to the application by ASUU asking for mediation at the ADR.
The counsel further stated that he needed to also file other applications having seen ASUU’s as agreeing to go to the ADR would entail delving into legal technicalities.
Justice Kanyip said that the matter was adjourned until Wednesday because Igwe said he was going to consult with his clients and not to formally react to ASUU’s application.
The judge in addition stated that he could refer the parties on his own to ADR as the Centre cannot compel anyone to agree or accept issues mediated upon.
When Abubakar did not object to Igwe’s application for adjournment to react to their request, the court ruled thus:
“The defendants counsel yesterday prayed for an adjournment to enable him consult with his clients.
” The adjournment was sought not to react formally to the motion for mediation, but for consultation.
” I am surprised by this new development, but I will not stop you.
“In the circumstance, the case is adjourned until May 11 in Abuja for hearing of motion for arbitration”, the judge ruled. (NAN)