The National Industrial Court, NIC, sat in Abuja today regarding the proposed strike by Nigerian Labor Congress, NLC, earmarked for tomorrow, (Wednesday).
The labor unions of which the NLC is its umbrella body had issued a statement threatening industrial action except the Buhari led administration reverses pump price of petrol. The NIC President, Justice Babatunde Adejumo, forbade the labor unions from embarking on strike, pending the resolution of a suit the Buhari led administration brought before it.
The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN prayed the NIC to ascertain “Whether the labor unions have complied with the laid down condition precedent for embarking on strike”.
He also asked the court to determine “Whether indeed there exist in law and in fact the basis of which the respondents’ total closure of the economy can be justified”.
In his ruling, Justice Babatunde stated that “It is the order of this court that status quo be maintained as at 17th May. It is the order of this court that none of the parties shall engage in any act, conduct, overtly, covertly on this matter pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice.”
“I decided to take this case this morning because it is on an issue that will affect everybody. I don’t want people to be subjected to hardship. There will be scarcity of foods, people may die, students will engage in all sorts of activities. This is why I have to grant this order,” he added.
Recall that in 2012, President Jonathan got the same court to issue the same ruling before the 2012 strike. That did not hold as Nigerians occupied Nigeria. That industrial action was due to the same fuel subsidy removal that enraged Nigerians.
As it stands, the NLC may not embark on its proposed strike.