The National Industrial Court (NIC) has passed a judgment, stopping the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) from embarking on a nationwide industrial action billed for Wednesday, to protest last week’s increase in fuel price by the federal Government.
On Saturday, the NLC and TUC had jointly issued a statement at the end of an emergency meeting, in which they vowed to embark on a nationwide industrial action should the federal government refuse to reverse the sudden hike in the price of fuel.
However, in a ruling on Tuesday, the NIC President, Justice Babatunde Adejumo, restrained the labour unions from going on strike, pending the determination of a suit the federal government lodged before it.
According to Adejumo, “the defendants are hereby restrained from carrying out the threat contained in their communique issued on May 14th pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice filed on May 16.
“It is the order of this court that status quo be maintained as at 17th May.”
He also directed the government to engage in productive dialogue with the NLC towards creating an amicable resolution of their dispute and adjourned the case to May 24 for a hearing of the motion on notice.
“It is the order of this court that non of the parties shall engage in any act, conduct, overtly, covertly on this matter pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice,” Justice Adejumo also held.
He added: ”I decided to take this case this morning because it is on an issue that will affect everybody. I don’t want people to be subjected to hardship. There will be scarcity of foods, people may die, students will engage in all sorts of activities. This is why I have to grant this order.”
The Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami SAN, had filed an ex-parte application.
It was gathered that the AGF approached the NIC, praying that it restrained the labor unions from shutting down the nation, backing it on section 14 of the 1999 Constitution.
Malami argued that no amount of damages could serve as compensation if NLC is allowed to shut down the economy.
He further argued that the balance of convenient was in favour of the government.
Meanwhile, though neither NLC nor TUC was represented in court, Justice Adejumo granted the ex-parte motion, even as he ordered the service of all the relevant court processes on the respondents.