…Says Order Overtaken By Events
The Federal Ministry of Justice, has declared the court order issued against the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) as ineffective, on the basis it has been overtaken by events.
This was contained in a letter from the Solicitor-Gcneral of the Federation and Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Justice, Mrs. B.E. Jedy-Agba, addressed to NLC’s legal representative, Messrs. Falana & Falana’s,
Recall that the NLC had vowed to commence a “total” strike beginning from Monday 14th August 2023, if the Court Summon it received with TUC to answer to contempt of court charges for embarking on a nationwide rally despite the provisions of the constitution to the contrary and the objective realities, was not withdrawn latest by Friday 11th of August 2023.
Congress had accused the Justice ministry of allowing itself to be used as a vehicle to truncate the dominance of the tenets of democracy and muzzle/silence the voices of Nigerian workers.
The letter reads: “Kindly recall the exchange of correspondence between the Ministry and your Office on the need for compliance with the extant court orders, restraining industrial action of any kind on the part of the Nigeria Labour Congress and Trade Union Congress.
“The position of the Ministry was informed by the need to safeguard the integrity of the court and prevent avoidable service disruption or damages to public thcilities.
“However, despite these exchanges/interventions, the labour unions on 2″d August 2023 proceeded with the industrial action through public pretests which led to disruption ol’work and the eventual pulling down of the gate of the National Assembly.
“The foregoing prompted the Ministry to initiate contempt proceedings by tiling Form 48 on the same 2nd August 2023 in accordance with Section 72 of the Sheriffs and Civil Process Act and Order 9 Rule 13 oftlwe Judgment (Enforcement) Rules. It is trite that issuance of Form 48 is just the starting point in contempt proceedings which will only crystalize upon the issuance of Form 49 and the consequential committal order.”
The letter further read: “Upon the intervention of His Excellency, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and the decision of the labour unions to call-off their industrial action after meetings with the President and leadership of the National Assembly, this Ministry did not proceed further with the contempt proceedings, which would have required the issuance of Form 49 within two days of thc issuance of Form 48.
“It is self-evident that the none-issuance of Form 49 as at 4th August 2023, renders the contempt proceedings inchoate.
“You may therefore wish to advise or guide the labour unions on the practice and procedure of contempt proceedings, particularly to the effect that the issues or concerns raised by NLC in its communique on the proceedings, have been overtaken by events.”
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