The National Industrial Court has restrainedthe Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC)from embarking on its planned strike action on Wednesday in protest of the hike in fuel price by the Federal Government.
President of the Industrial Court, Justice Babatunde Adejumo gave the restraining order after the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami dragged the NLC to the Industrial Court seeking an order of the court restraining the NLC from proceeding with the planned strike on the grounds that it would paralyse the nation’s economy.
Ruling on the exparte application filed by the AGF on behalf of the government, Justice Adejumo held: “The defendants are hereby restrained from carrying out the threat contained in their communiqué 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.”
Ordering that the processes in the case be served on the respondents within 24 hours and that proof of service be filed in the court, the Justice held: “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.”
After the ruling, Justice Adejumo said that he hoped both parties would come to an agreement before the order elapses in 7 days.
The case was then adjourned to May 24 for hearing o the motion on notice.
Speaking on why he granted the order, Adejumo said: “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 sacricity of foods, people may die, students will engage in all sorts of activities. This is why I have to grant this order.”
Citing Section 14 of the 1999 Constitution as amended to justify his application to stop the strike, Malami said it was in the national interest to stop NLC from shutting down the nation.
Questioning whether the respondents (NLC, Trade Union Congress) have complied with the laid down condition precedent for embarking on strike, he argued that no amount of damages could serve as compensation if NLC is allowed to shut down the economy.
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