By Vivian Okejeme, Abuja
Federal Government, through the Ministry of Justice has described the notice of strike action by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) as illegal and in contempt of court.
FG is reacting to the the national president of NLC Joe Ajaero and Secretary-General, Emmanuel Ugboaja, call on Nigerian workers to prepare for nationwide strike on August 1, to protest hike in price of fuel.
The Federal Ministry of Justice, through the solicitor-general of the federation, Mrs B.E. Jedy-Agba said the attention of the ministry has been drawn to media reports indicating that the leadership of the NLC endorsed a 7-day notice of their intention to embark on a nationwide strike action from 2nd August 2023, if the demands of the labour unions are not met.
The SGF said, “It is pertinent to alert members of the NLC and the general public to the pendency of SUIT NO: NICN/ABJ/158/2023 – FEDERAL GOVERNMENT OF NIGERIA & ANOR V. NIGERIAN LABOUR CONGRESS & ANOR before the National Industrial Court, wherein His Lordship, Anuwe, J., on 5th June 2023 granted an injunctive order restraining Nigeria Labour Congress and Trade Union Congress from embarking on the planned industrial action/or strike of any nature, pending the hearing and determination of the pending Motion on Notice, which is also praying for an order of interlocutory injunction for parties to maintain status quo pending the determination of the dispute or issues submitted to the court. The said Motion on Notice is still pending.
“It is noted that the issues (removal of fuel subsidy, hike in prices of petrol and consequential increase in cost of living, etc) which precipitated the above court action are the very same issues over which NLC has now issued another strike notice. The NLC has submitted to the jurisdiction of the court and is being represented by the reputable law firm of Femi Falana, SAN. It is therefore our minimum expectation that NLC will allow the courts perform their constitutional roles rather than resorting to self-help and undermining the orders of the court.
“We note with dismay that this latest strike notice is consistent with the inexplicable disdain which the NLC leadership has visited on the authority of the court in recent times following earlier inciting and derogatory remarks made by the NLC President against the court. Indeed, the avowed penchant of the leadership of the union for casting aspersions on the Judiciary is quite worrisome and concerning,” she said.