The President of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria, Justice Babatunde Adeniran Ademjumo today granted an interim order restraining the Nigeria Labor Congress from embarking on an indefinite strike slated for tomorrow to protest a hike in the price of petrol. The order is to last for seven days though it is subject to renewal.
Justice Babatunde Adejumo who presided over the lawsuit No.NICN/ABJ/179/2016 between Federal Government of Nigeria and the Nigeria Labour Congress and Trade Union Congress granted an interim order of injunction. The order cast a restraint on the Defendants/Respondents, their agents, privies, employees, workmen, or servants to desist from embarking on an industrial action, demonstrating or engaging in any action that may disrupt the economic activities of Nigeria. The order would be pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice. He ordered that the unions be served the processes in the case within 24 hours.
His ruling read:
“The defendants are hereby restrained from carrying out the threat contained in their communique issued on May 14, 2016 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 May 17.
“It is the order of this court that none of the parties shall engage in any act, conduct, overtly, covertly on this matter pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice.”
The Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, submitted to the Industrial Court that if the reliefs sought in the motion paper is refused, irreparable damage will be done to national economy, security and corporate existence. He further submitted that the defendants had to be restrained after haven threatened to shut down the country. Or else the country will risk be a breakdown of law and order.
In his ruling, today Justice Adejumo held that he has jurisdiction to hear the application. And that having read through the affidavits in support of the application, he was satisfied that a case of urgency has been established by the Federal Government of Nigeria to warrant the grant of an interim order of injunction.
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He however transferred the hearing of the substantive suit to a different judge of the National Industrial Court, saying that he would be busy at the National Judicial Council when it would be heard. Stating that he would have liked government and the labour unions to resolve the matter amicably, Mr. Adejumo noted that he was compelled to issue the restraining order because the unions were not yet before him. He explained that he gave the order to stop the strike because he did not want Nigerians to face hardship as a result of the strike.
“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.”
He said the threats of the defendants as contained in the communique issued by the NLC on May 15 to shut down all banks; airports, seaports, government offices, markets nationwide has proven that there is a matter to be protected.