11th January, 2012
Nnamdi Felix / Abuja
Rattled by the deluge of criticisms poured on it by a cross section of Nigerians following a late evening order it made 6 January barring the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, and the Trade Union Congress, TUC, from embarking on the strike to protest the removal of fuel subsidy last, the National Industrial Court today explained why it granted the Federal Government’s prayer.
Speaking through the Chief Registrar, Mrs Rakiya Bosede Haastrup, the court explained that the panel led by the President of the Court, Justice Babatunde Adejumo, which decided the matter declined jurisdiction on two of the prayers sought by the Federal Government as they related to the vexed issue of subsidy removal and were clearly outside the court’s jurisdiction.
The Chief Registrar noted that the court made the order in an open court in the full glare of the public and the press in attendance and was not fraudulently obtained as is being speculated in some quarters. She reiterated that the order is valid and subsisting and should be obeyed by those to whom it was directed.
Mrs. Haastrup insisted that the insinuation from some quarters that a “black market injunction” was obtained by the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Mohammed Bello Adoke, from the National Industrial Court, is no doubt misleading, baseless and has no iota of truth whatsoever.
She maintained that the court, after hearing the submissions of the Federal Government, relied on a precedent in a Court of Appeal decision in Oshiomhole and another versus FGN and another (2007) 7 NLLR (part 18), in making the order which essence was to preserve the res and to avoid break down of law and order and to insure that there is industrial peace and harmony in the country.
The Chief Registrar absolved the court of any wrong doing noting that section 7(1)(b) of the National Industrial Court Act 2006 and section 254 (c)(1) of the Constitution empowers it adjudicate matters involving strikes.
Hearing of the substantive case comes up before the court on Thursday.