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Your Planned Nationwide Protest Gross Contempt, Affront To Court Order — FG Fires NLC

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The Bola Tinubu Government has asked the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) to shelve its planned nationwide protest slated for February 27 and February 28, 2024.

The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), made this known in a letter to NLC counsel, Femi Falana (SAN).

The AGF stated that the planned protest was premised on or connected with alleged non-implementation of the 16-point agreement reached with the Federal Government on October 02, 2023.

Fagbemi said the federal government has reasonably complied with the agreement even though certain areas of the terms of the agreement have been inhibited by “unforeseen” circumstances.

According to the AGF, the planned industrial action could amount to contempt in view of a restraining order of a National Industrial Court (NIC).

The minister added that the strike was targeted at promoting issues connected with a hike in fuel price and consequential matters of palliatives, workers’ welfare, and associated government policies.

Fagbemi urged Falana to note that there is a pending case before the National Industrial Court regarding the development, saying the planned protest would be seen as gross contempt.

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He explained that the restraining order has neither been stayed nor set aside and, therefore, remains binding on all parties including Nigerian workers.

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The statement reads: “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 5h June 2023 restraining both NLC and TUC from embarking on any industrial action or strike of
any nature.

It is not in doubt that the planned protest is designed to compel the government to accede to the demands of organized labour, therefore, such action qualifies as an industrial action which comes within the ambit of the restraining order.

I wish to note that the government has substantially and reasonably complied with the items in the MOU and it is only appropriate and equitable for organized labour to engage more with government to ensure the full implementation of same, especially in areas that have been inhibited by unforeseen challenges.

May I, therefore, request that you kindly implore and enjoin your clients to refrain from self-help by shelving the proposed protests which are 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.

Please accept the assurance of my esteemed regards.”

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