The National Industrial Court sitting in Lagos has adjourned till Friday, September 18, to hear all applications relating to the Rivers State Government’s suit seeking the interpretation of the provisions of the Trade Unions Act.
The court is sitting as a vacation court to hear the suit.
The Rivers State Govt had filed the suit to challenge the threat by the Nigeria Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress to embark on a strike action starting from Monday, September 7.
The government listed the two unions, their presidents, Comrade Ayuba Waba and Quadri Olaleye, as well as the Rivers state chairpersons, Beatrice Itubo and Austin Jonah as defendants in the suit.
The defendants were not present in court, but the Rivers State Attorney General, Professor Zaccheus Adangor who represented the state government told the court that all the defendants have been duly served with the originating processes and the motion on notice for an interlocutory injunction, along with last week’s enrolled order of interim injunction restraining the defendants from going on strike, which have all been published in two national newspapers of September the 3rd as directed by the court.
He also told the judge about an out-of court-agreement reached Monday night after a closed-door meeting with Governor Nyesom Wike which resulted in organised labour calling off their planned protest against the Rivers State Government on Tuesday,
Vacation judge, Justice Nelson Ogbunaya discountenanced the information and asked the AG to focus on the suit especially as the defendants who would have corroborated the information were not in court.
Justice Ogbunaya also noted that the 14-day period for the defendants to respond and put in their appearance will expire on September 17.
He, therefore, adjourned further hearings to September 18.
This is the second legal action of the Rivers state government against organised labour.
Judgment in the first case against a previous plan of the state NLC to go on strike in March will be delivered on September 29 at the Port Harcourt division of the court.