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Attorney General of the Federation: Proposed NLC Nationwide Protest Violates Court Order



Attorney General of the Federation: Proposed NLC Nationwide Protest Violates Court Order

AGF and Minister of Justice Lateef Fagbemi Asserts Planned NLC and TUC Nationwide Protest Violates Court Order

Fagbemi, in a letter addressed to Femi Falana, counsel to NLC and dated February 23, 2024, drew his attention to the Joint Press Release dated 8th February 2024, containing a 14-day ultimatum, jointly issued by the President of the NLC and President of the TUC as well as the notice of a two-day national protest issued by the NLC President on 16th February 2024.

According to the Attorney General, a cursory perusal of the above press release clearly showed that the planned protest is premised on or connected with alleged non-implementation of the 16-point agreement reached with the Federal Government on October 02, 2023, consequences of the hike in the price of PMS, and other associated issues.

Fagbemi said it is therefore safe to assert again that the proposed cause of action by NLC is targeted at achieving objectives or promoting issues connected with a hike in fuel price and consequential matters of palliatives workers ‘ welfare, and associated government policies.

“You may wish to note that the foregoing issues or objectives are at the core of the pending case before the National Industrial Court.

“Upon the submission of grievances to the court, parties in the suit cannot resort to public protests over the same issues, as such conduct amounts to gross contempt and affront to the institution of our courts of law.

Therefore, the proposed nationwide protest action in all ramifications is in clear violation of the pending interim injunctive order granted in SUIT NO: NICN/ABJ/158/2023-FEDERAL GOVERNMENT OF NIGERIA & ANOR V. NIGERIAN LABOUR CONGRESS & ANOR on 5th June 2023 restraining both NLC and TUC from embarking on any industrial action or strike of any nature,” he said.

Fagbemi added that it was not in doubt that the planned protest was designed to compel the government to accede to the demands of organised labour, and that such action qualified as an industrial action which comes within the ambit of the restraining order.

He said this restraining order had neither been stayed nor set aside and therefore remained binding.

Fagbemi said the government had substantially and reasonably complied with the items in the MOU and that it was only appropriate and equitable for organized labour to engage more with the government to ensure the full implementation of same, especially in areas that had been inhibited by unforeseen challenges.

The Attorney General implore Falana to enjoin the NLC to refrain from self-help by shelving the proposed protests which were antithetical to the mediatory engagements leading to the execution of the MOU, tantamount to undermining subsisting restraining court order, and occasioning disruption of public service, order, and safety.