The Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal yesterday urged the Federal Government and the striking members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, to further explore an out-of-court resolution of their dispute.
Consequently, the appellate court in a unanimous decision by a three-man panel of Justices, deferred hearing of the Appeal ASUU lodged before it for another 24 hours.
It said the decision was to allow the warring parties to have a rethink and re-approach the negotiation table, with a view to resolving all the thorny issues amicably.
Justice Georgewill Biobele Abraham had after the matter was called up for hearing, implored FG’s lawyer, Mr. James Igwe, SAN, and counsel to ASUU, Mr. Femi Falana, SAN, to take patriotic stand and convey the position of the court to their clients.
“There is time for everything. Time for war and time for peace. As ministers in the temple of justice, we want to see the two of you as senior lawyers to encourage and explore amicable settlement of this dispute.
“In fact, we expect to return to this court on Thursday (today) with good news that the dispute has been thrashed out and all the appreciation of Nigerians will go to you.
“So, talk to your clients to take the interest of the nation into consideration for the sake of our children. As you leave here, go and sit down and talk and resolve the matter,” Justice Abraham added.
Responding, FG’s lawyer, Igwe, thanked the panel for the admonition and promised to further discuss the issue with ASUU’s lawyer.
On his part, Falana, SAN, said his clients were always open for dialogue, adding that he had earlier initiated a similar move.
Falana, however, stressed that amicable resolution of the issue in dispute would involve a give and take from the two parties.
Meanwhile, the panel, presided over by Justice Barka Hamma Akawu, said it would today hear the motion ASUU filed to stay the execution of judgement of the National Industrial Court, NIC, that ordered an end to its ongoing strike.
FG’s lawyer, Igwe had contended that he was not served with a copy of the motion dated September 28.
It will be recalled that the NIC had on September 21, ordered ASUU to call off its over seven-month old strike in national interest and for the sake of undergraduates in the country.
It ordered the striking varsity lecturers to return to the classroom, pending the determination of a suit FG filed to query the legality of their action.
However, ASUU had since lodged a 14-ground of appeal to set aside the judgement, even as it applied for stay of its execution.