ABUJA – The National Industrial Court on Monday declared that the order restraining the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) from embarking on their planned industrial action over removal of fuel subsidy subsists.
Justice Olufunke Anuwe stated that the order as granted on June 5 subsists pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice…..CONTINUE READING
The court in addition ordered that parties maintain the status quo and adjourned the matter until July 20, for a hearing.
Earlier, when the case was called, the Federal Government’s counsel, Mr. Ochum Emmanuel, informed the court that the matter was slated for Monday for the claimant to take its motion on notice for an interlocutory injunction to restrain the defendants from embarking on strike.
He added that he was ready to proceed with his application as the defendants had been served.
Mr. Marshall Abubakar, the defendants’ counsel, on his part, however, replied that they had filed an application praying the court to set aside its order granted on June 5, restraining his clients from embarking on strike.
Abubakar further submitted that the claimant was served the application on June 8, only for them to turn around and serve on them a counter-affidavit on Monday in court.
He added that the claimant filed the counter-affidavit on June 16 and instructed the bailiff not to serve them until Monday in court.
The court enquired if the defence was properly served before the court, Abubakar responded that he was not certain, but that he will find out and do the needful.
He also prayed for a short adjournment to look at the counter-affidavit and respond.
Emmanuel in response opposed Abubakar’s application for adjournment and urged the court to allow him to take his motion on notice which was slated for hearing.
Counsel also reiterated that the Federal Government will never file a process and instruct any bailiff not to serve the other party.
He argued that it was probably because he filed the processes late on June 16 that made the bailiff serve defence counsel in court on Monday.
Emmanuel in his submission equally averred that the defendants were not prepared before the court as they had not filed their memorandum of appearance, but only came to urge the court to vacate the order it granted on June 5.
In addition, he submitted that if the court should deem it fit to grant Abubakar’s application for an adjournment, the court should equally declare that the order restraining the defendants from embarking on strike granted on June 5 subsists.
In his reply, Abubakar submitted that Emmanuel’s application was not necessary as the court had earlier stated that parties should maintain the status quo pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit.
He also informed the court that parties were meeting later on Monday to try and resolve the issue.
The court in its ruling granted the application for adjournment, directed the defendants to enter their memorandum of appearance and instructed parties to maintain the status quo.
It was gathered that the defendants had planned to embark on a nationwide strike on June 7 to protest the fuel subsidy removal that brought about the new pump price for the Premium Motor Spirit (PMS).
The Federal Government had, therefore, instituted the suit to stop the defendants, stating that the proposed strike may gravely affect the larger society and the well-being of the nation at large.
The claimant in addition stated that the strike is capable of disrupting economic activities, which will affect especially the health and the educational sectors.
FG, Labour Resume Talks Over Fuel Subsidy Removal
Meanwhile, in view of an existing gentleman’s agreement which led to the suspension of an industrial action by the organised labour, representatives of the Federal Government have gone back to the negotiating table with both workers’ union, the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) and the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC).
The meeting resumed at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Monday, where they explored short, medium and long term measures to cushion the harsh realities of fuel subsidy removal on Nigerians.
Recall that the National Economic Council (NEC) meeting chaired by Vice President Kashim Shettima had deliberated on a N702 billion palliative funds which will come as special allowances to workers and vulnerable Nigerians as a means of alleviating their suffering owing to the subsidy removal policy.
Shortly after the meeting which lasted few hours, President of TUC, Festus Osifo, told reporters that specialised committees have been constituted to review the recommendations labour had presented which culminated in the suspension of their proposed strike.
His position was corroborated by Joe Ajaero, President of Nigeria Labour Congress who was also at the meeting.
He revealed that all the negotiations by the stakeholders had an eight weeks timeframe to be concluded.
Present at the meeting besides the TUC and NLC delegation were the Chief of Staff to the President, Femi Gbajabiamila; Special Adviser for Revenue, Zachaeus Adedeji; the Special Adviser for Energy, Olu Verheijen, and the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Labour and Employment, Kachallom Daju.
Others are the Group Chief Executive Officer (GCEO) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL), Mele Kyari; the Chief Executive Officer of Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC), Gbenga Komolafe; the CEO of Nigeria Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA), Farouk Ahmed, among others……CONTINUE READING