The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), has reacted to a restraining order from the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Lateef Fagbemi, (SAN)
The Order cited by Fagbemi dated June 5, 2023, through an exparte motion restricted the union from embarking on a nationwide protest over the removal of fuel subsidy.
However, Fagbemi said that the proposed strike action slated for October 3rd “is in clear violation of the pending interim injunctive order granted on June 5, 2023, restraining both Nigeria Labour Congress and Trade Union Congress of Nigeria from embarking on any industrial action or strike pending the hearing and determination of the pending motion on notice”.
Reacting to Fagbemi’s claim on Saturday, the President of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Joe Ajaero in a communique issued on Saturday said it was shocked that Fagbemi is referring to a restraining order issued on June 5 through motion exparte which the Ministry of Justice in a formal statement had said lapsed due to non-diligent prosecution.
The statement reads: “We find it pathetic that Mr. Fagbemi strives to operate from the high moral ground by advising Labour Unions on the need to protect the integrity of courts and observe the sanctity of court orders.
“Who is causing more injury to the sanctity of the courts? Those seeking to convert a restraining order obtained under the cover of the night to a perpetual injunction or the victims of this terrorism?
“For once, we find it appropriate to reveal to the world that the court refused to sit during the pendency of the order to take our response to that order.
“To gag us, to bind us, to tie us to the pole for life without a chance to hear us out will constitute not just malicious conduct but grievous injury to our fundamental human rights as enshrined in the 1999 constitution as amended.
“We refuse to be gagged. We also want to remind those in power of their history when they were out of power, we similarly, find it necessary to remind Fagbemi that equating a restraining order to a perpetual injuction will do no small damage to our legal and judicial system” NLC said.
According to Ajaero, there are two ministerial portfolios whose offices constitutionally do not admit partisanship in the discharge of their duties. These are the Minister of Labour and Employment and the Minister of Justice. In addition to their regular duties, they are expected to play the umpire role.
“Also, the Attorney General is advised to note that the letter, spirit, principles, and intendment of the National Industrial Court are quite different from those of the regular court to which he is accustomed.
“We are the foremost pan-Nigerian organization with an unrivaled patriotism and an illustrious history of popular struggle pre-dating our national independence.
”Accordingly, we do not need a lecture from anyone on national interest, national security, or the preservation of our sovereignty, ” it added.