The National Industrial Court has asked the Nigerian Labour Congress, NLC, to put its planned strike on hold, pending the hearing and determination of a suit brought before it by the Attorney General of the Federation, AGF, and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami SAN.
Malami had dragged NLC to the Industrial Court, seeking an order of the court restraining the congress from proceeding with the planned strike on the ground that the strike would paralyse the nation’s economy.
The AGF wants the court to decide whether the NLC complied with conditions precedent in law before threatening to embark on strike, even as he told the Industrial Court that its refusal to grant the application would render the suit useless.
When asked by the presiding judge, Justice Babatunde Adejumo how he got to know that the NLC was planning to embark on strike, Malami said he saw a statement issued by the labour union on their website and that the statement had been published by the media.
Ruling on an exparte application on Tuesday, the court ordered parties to maintain the status quo until the hearing and determination of the exparte motion.
Justice Adejumo, who held that the order is to last for seven days, directed the government to dialogue with the NLC towards an amicable resolution of their dispute.
Shortly after the petroleum minister, Ibe Kachikwu announced N145 as the new price for petrol, the organized labour asked the federal government to reverse the price of petrol within three days or face an indefinite industrial action that would shut down the country.
At the end of a joint meeting between the NLC and the Trade Union Congress, TUC, on Saturday, the unions advised Nigerians to stockpile food and staples to prepare for a showdown with the government.
On Monday, a government delegation met with labour leaders to prevent the strike from holding, but the meeting ended in stalemate. The talks is scheduled to resume on Tuesday.