The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has insisted that it will proceed on strike on next Monday over the hike in electricity and fuel prices despite the Federal Government obtaining a fresh court order barring the planned action.
The NLC made its position known in a statement issued by Emmanuel Ugboaja, its General Secretary, on Friday.
Justice Ibrahim Galadima of the National Industrial Court in Abuja on Friday issued a fresh restraining order against the unions, following an ex parte application by the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation.
The judge ordered that both the NLC and the TUC joined as the defendants in the suit should be served with the fresh court order within seven days from Friday.
The Federal Government of Nigeria and the AGF are the plaintiffs in the suit marked NICN/ABJ/257/2020. The ex parte application was signed by the AGF, Abubakar Malami (SAN).
The Acting Director of the Department of Civil Litigation, Federal Ministry of Justice, Maimuna Shiru, moved the ex parte application on behalf of the plaintiffs on Friday.
The fresh order came barely 24 hours after the same judge made a similar restraining ex parte order in favour of a group, Peace and Unity Ambassadors Association, on Thursday.
But the NLC in its statement asked the national leadership of affiliates in Abuja to mobile at least 2,000 of their members to Unity Fountain, Abuja for the mass rally, scheduled to begin at 7am.
It also said its affiliates are expected to mobilise the same number of members to the NLC Sub-Secretariat, 29, Olajuwon Street, Yaba, Lagos, which is the take-off point for the Lagos protest at 7am also on the same day.
Replying to an enquiry also on Friday, Ayuba Wabba, the NLC President, stated that the union has not been served with any court processes and will, therefore, proceed on its planned industrial action.
“We have not been served with the order of any court. The right to assemble peacefully and protest is guaranteed by the Nigerian constitution. It’s a universal right; our political elite exercised this right without hindrance,” Ayuba told the Punch.
“It could be recalled that the dialogue between the Federal Government and organised labour ended after 9pm yesterday (Thursday) where the government team adjourned the meeting for consultation.
“The social media reported a court order obtained by an NGO which we were not served. We are equally not served any court process by the government. I think it’s meant to divert attention from the issues at stake. We have not been put on notice or served any process.”
Following the hikes in electricity tariffs and fuel pump price, the Federal Government and the labour unions had met penultimate Tuesday but the dialogue ended in a deadlock on account of the failure of the government to reverse the price increase or offer palliatives to cushion the effects of the hikes on workers.
The NLC and TUC subsequently declared strike and protest as both unions said they would collaborate to execute the industrial action for maximum effect.