The President of the Nigerian Labour Congress, Ayuba Wabba, on Tuesday, urged judges of the National Industrial Court to stop issuing orders restraining citizens from exercising their right to protest or go on strike.
Waba noted that while citizens were allowed to freely protest in developed climes, the Nigerian courts were busy issuing injunctions to restrain Nigerians from protesting against unfavourable government policies.
He spoke in Abuja at a public lecture titled, ‘Dignity of labour and labour justice’.
The event was organised by the National Industrial Court of Nigeria as part of activities celebrating its 2020/2021 legal year.
The NIC had issued two separate orders against the last attempt by the NLC and the Trade Union Congress to embark on strike to protest against the hike in fuel pump price and electricity tariff.
Wabba said such court orders were against the fundamental right of the workers to protest.
Also speaking, the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Reverend Father Matthew Kukah, said it was impossible to ensure labour dignity and justice if society was averse to justice and equality for all.
Kukah urged the nation’s leaders to purge themselves of discriminatory tendencies and work to ensure social justice and development.
The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Ibrahim Muhammad, represented by another Justice of the Supreme Court, Justice, Uwani Abba Aji, said the judiciary would continue to uphold the right and dignity of the nation’s workforce.
The President of the NICN, Justice Benedict Kanyip, maintained that the NIC, being a specialized court, would continue to work to protect labour dignity and justice.
He said, “As a specialised court, so long as justice is not sacrificed, the dictates of labour justice requires that we be guided by principles of flexibility and speed when adjudicating.
“We have never ceased to stress that an employer cannot treat an employee shabbily and expect a pat on the back.”
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