The Federal Government has informed the National Industrial Court that it would formally respond to the arbitration request by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) by May 11.
ASUU, on Tuesday, filed a suit against the Registrar of Trade Unions (RTU) and the Minister of Labour and Employment.
The lawsuit contests an alleged threat by the federal government to revoke ASUU's registration certificate for failing to submit annual financial reports and audited accounts for nearly ten years.
ASUU's attorney, Marshal Abubakar, who represented Femi Falana SAN, informed the court during the Tuesday session that he had filed an application to submit the matter to the court's Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Centre
Responding, J.U.K. Igwe, SAN stated that he had not received any application to that effect.
He added that he would also need to consult with his clients to find out whether they agreed with the referral to ADR.
Justice Benedict Kanyip, the judge, therefore adjourned the case until Wednesday.
However, when the issue came up on Wednesday, Igwe told the court that he waited until Tuesday but never received ASUU's application until just before the hearing.
Therefore, he requested an adjournment so that he could respond formally to ASUU's request for mediation at the ADR.
The attorney added that he needed to submit more applications after learning from ASUU that consenting to the ADR would require digging into legal jargon.
The case was postponed till Wednesday, according to Justice Kanyip, because Igwe stated that he would first meet with his clients before deciding how to respond to ASUU's appeal.
The court further indicated that while the Centre cannot compel anyone to agree or accept topics mediated upon, he could submit the parties to ADR on his own.
When Abubakar did not object to Igwe's request for an adjournment to respond to their request, the court made the following decision:
“The defendant's counsel yesterday prayed for an adjournment to enable him to 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
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